Whether we're buying new, second-hand from the RealReal or local thrift stores, clothing is perpetually circling through and backing up our closets. Each of us lives in motion, defining and redefining who we are, what we stand for, and what we wish to become, and fashion is our signifier. Berlin/London-based designer Taskin Goec is astutely aware of the role of fashion in our lives. Taskin launched his fashion brand Maison Taskin in 2016 while studying at Kunsthochschule Weißensee and has since become a thought leader in the digital fashion community. Using a hybrid design process, Taskin bridges the material and immaterial world, creating physical and digital design collections. His collections coexist in these collective realities, the physical and the virtual, which he believes are equally real. Taskin recognizes that online and offline identities are intertwined and feed each other; only the online world opens the opportunities for frivolity due to its unlimited resources. Taskin crafts digital decadence, creating an unseen aesthetic that is raw, detailed, and sensual.
A self-proclaimed ambivert, Taskin says he designs for people like himself, who may be shy offline but discover their extroverted selves online. We met with Taskin to discuss how he has created a world of its own and, beyond garments, is designing ideas in an ongoing creative experiment that redefines what fashion can be.
Have you always been artistic? Did you grow up in a creative household?
I cannot remember a time when I was not creating or designing things. When I was a child, nothing was safe from me, and I would even embellish our trash bins. As a teenager, I played a lot of computer games and designed new assets that I uploaded on platforms. I had my own store in SecondLife for a couple of months, so you could say I was in digital fashion before I knew it.
You work in that meeting place between traditional forms of craftship and emerging technologies. What is it like having one foot in the physical world and one in the digital world?
It is challenging to bridge two disparate worlds. In a way, I don’t belong to any category because it is a new path I am creating. I link workflows that have not been linked yet, and I speak two different languages, so to speak.
Does your design aesthetic change between the physical and digital worlds?
It doesn’t, because I do not see any borders here. My philosophy is that online and offline identities are inseparable, and fashion needs to reflect that. However, there are different qualities which I would consider desirable in physical and digital reality.
— Taskin Goec —
“My philosophy is that online and offline identities are inseparable, and fashion needs to reflect that.”
Does working in one space make you more adept in the other?
I wouldn’t be able to make digital or mixed reality fashion if I wasn’t a fashion nerd in the first place. And by this, I am referring to an obsession with how garments are made, patterns, references, and so on. I have been creating physical garments for a decade now, and there is so much technical knowledge and craftsmanship involved that I am taking to the digital realm.
How did you start in digital fashion? And what made you decide it was an important space to direct your creative energy?
During my studies, I developed a very theoretical backbone for my work. I believe that fashion is taking place in an immaterial world. It is a different reality in which most fashion objects are rooted. The physical item we might find in a store or see someone wearing in the streets is just a physical copy. It’s like the Disney castle: the real one only exists in the movies, and then there are copies in Disneyworld.
In that case, both digital and physical fashion are equally real, as they both exist in collective realities. And then digital fashion has the unique solution sustainability, while allowing limitless creation and consumption for buyers and designers.
For some time, it looked as if the party was over. As if there was no space for fashion, which is, at its core, frivolous. However, digital space is the perfect place to keep on partying. It must be one of the main priorities for platforms and brands to make this a sustainable approach. One that is democratic in the sense that it does not exploit resources or workforces. This includes low-impact NFTs, non-hierarchical structures, and accessibility. The party is only going to be fun if everyone’s invited.
What opportunities did you see emerging in the digital fashion and wearable NFTs?
Digital space is immaterial, but it is real; and it can be a place that is colorful, fluid, and experimental. I am very passionate about the idea that we get to live parts of our identities which we might suppress in everyday physical reality. It can be a safer space than your neighborhood: many of us can’t choose exactly where we live and who we see every day when we go to school or work. With digital fashion (and social media), you interact with your tribes.
“For some time, it looked as if the party was over. As if there was no space for fashion, which is, at its core, frivolous. However, digital space is the perfect place to keep on partying.”
— Taskin Goec —
How do you want to see our collective realities built?
I am not only designing clothes, but I am building worlds. This is the first step to shaping a digital reality. It is, after all, an immaterial space. That is why I think of the landscape, the people, their emotions, what they do, and what they’d wear.
Where is your mind at the moment? What inspired your Special Items NFTs?
Currently, I am thinking a lot about craftsmanship. I just came back from a basket weaving course in the English countryside. You can tell that crafts will gain more and more relevance in the years to come, which is great. The NFT I designed for Special Items is an example of digital craft. The garment is intricately cut; there is texture, subtle irregularity, and a human touch.
Has digital fashion helped you step into yourself more? Become more authentic as a designer?
I do not make fashion that is about me. Instead, I make fashion that is authentic in the sense that it reflects our contemporary lifestyles instead of reproducing nostalgic ideas. And I find that digital and hybrid fashion is the ideal medium to do so.
Taskin Goec @taskingoec has created two exclusive NFTs, available to mint on the Special Items Marketplace from Tuesday, 25 October.