Web3 and sustainability have more in common than one might think. As digital ecosystems are a concept in the making, today’s designers are in control of building them responsibly. Web3 seems to be the fashion industry’s prevalent conversation topic and although abstract in essence, its core value lies in offering a decentralized platform that brings back the power to the individual. And while this creates endless opportunities for creative freedom, innovation, diversity and inclusion, a rising number of creatives believe it must also be used to bring the power back to nature or at least give back to her.
Footwear designer Bryce Wong and Brooklyn-based zero-waste powerhouse DECODE are pioneering in the exploration of how the industry’s digital transformation is the perfect tool for transparent manufacturing. Together, they have unveiled a collaboration titled “Building Positive Space,” an innovative capsule collection powered by traceable blockchain technology. The zero-waste and certified products are paired with next-level proof of location engineered by FOAM. Certifications are accessible via physical and app-less NFT chips from designer KONG, allowing users to access visual content through IYK’s software experience and storing unlimited types of data, which will increase demand for greater transparency.
In terms of aesthetics, the “Building Positive Space” collection offers a French Terry hoodie, matching sweatpants, and a long sleeve t-shirt reimagined with Bryce’s signature style. Garments arrive in black and white colorways and are emblazoned with floral and smiley iconography, depicting the blurred gradient between nature and happiness. A hand-dyed limited chamomile-dyed colorway of the long sleeve is also available. All pieces are made-to-order, manufactured and certified in DECODE’s Brooklyn workshop. To ensure a longer lifespan and a sustainable end of life, pieces are made of 100% natural Cotton fabric, natural threads such as Lyocell or Tencel and avoiding mixing synthetics.
Bryce Wong represents a force in the industry’s digital revolution, having become the first virtual footwear designer at Nike’s “.Swoosh” and being committed to exploring ways of taking blockchain and zero-waste to the next level. “Nothing about Web3 is set in stone yet. It’s all about experimenting and innovating,” begins the designer in the official collection statement. “My job is to work with others to find new and innovative ways to push Web3 design and interaction. Since most Web3 fashion projects focus on a digital format, the digital/physical blend that DECODE was proposing felt super fresh. Plus, I know they like to have fun!” he adds.
Meanwhile, Danielle Elsener, founder of DECODE, has dedicated her career to providing zero-waste as a valid and robust design system. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2020, Elsener received the prestigious Evian x Virgil Abloh’s Active Movement Grant, which allowed her to keep on developing her scalable model of zero-waste apparel. On the challenges of her journey, the designer noted, “Zero-waste faces the same problems as any sustainable initiative: non-transparent business practices through greenwashing and a constant focus on the negative. That’s why I describe my process as rearranging negative space in patterns until everything becomes positive space. It brings a much-needed positive spin to how we talk about sustainability in fashion.”