Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2

Leading up to the A/W 2023 edition of London Fashion Week this February, inter-disciplinary Danish fashion designer and founder of holistic design, luxury and tech advisory collective KONSENS X, Jens Laugesen, discusses the new era of META\SENS, a digital fashion project held in three parts and the relaunch of his eponymous brand.

Edited by Honor Cooper Hedges

Leading up to the A/W 2023 edition of London Fashion Week this February, inter-disciplinary Danish fashion designer and founder of holistic design, luxury and tech advisory collective KONSENS X, Jens Laugesen, discusses the new era of META\SENS, a digital fashion project held in three parts and the relaunch of his eponymous brand.

Building on the meta-redefinition of hybrid space and in-between garment objects, META\SENS was first debuted at London Fashion Week in September 2022 through a digital presentation created in collaboration with an international collective of digital artists, the Virtual Touch digital lab team in Hong Kong and supported by the Danish Arts Foundation.

The second edition of the project will be launched during this upcoming LFW in February 2023 through a PHYGITAL catwalk event, an immersive AR filter hybrid fashion/art/catwalk installation developed in collaboration with Berlin-based AR/VR start-up VZNZ and interoperability NFT platform SYLE PROTOCOL, that will allow the audience to experience a sculptural fashion in the physical space alongside an immersive digital space and a new edition of Laugesen’s signature Glitch Film series, this time showcased within the burgeoning Metaverse.

Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2

Held in collaboration with METAVERSE FASHION COUNCIL & MAISON DAO, META\SENS pushes Laugesen's signature hybrid design thinking into a new dimension, transposing his creative process into digital fashion, showcased through a new collaborative project which is a testament to his cutting-edge yet contemporary approach to creating fashion.

The coming LFW presentation will also see the re/launch of the eponymous brand with a focussed genderfluid collection with a democratic unifit for all, including signature LAUGESEN wardrobe pieces such as the tailored flap jacket and trench coat reconstructed into elevated tailored wardrobe stapes of trench hoodie sweatshirt t-shirts for all. The focussed capsule collection will be launched in Paris Fashion Week at the London Show Rooms organised by the British Fashion Council during Men's Jan 19-22 and showcased at REVOLVER Fair during Copenhagen Fashion Week Feb 1-3 before launching in London Fashion Week Feb 17-21.

Jens, how did you come up with the idea for META\SENS TRILOGY, what inspired the project?

Since I graduated from my MA at CSM in 2002, I’ve become known for my conceptual approach to design; bringing a hybrid approach into my design thinking by taking analogue couture traditions and using it more organically by re and deconstructing garments together with design concepts. But following my 20 year + career in fashion and a lot of introspection brought on by the pandemic, I wanted to relaunch my brand in a new way, so I thought “How can I do something that is different and adapted to the post-pandemic zeitgeist?”

In my design practice, I have always been obsessed with research and finding the meaning (=sens in French) behind things, Meta is about finding a higher purpose and exploring what design is beyond the physical, analogue realm; finding the possibilities of Metaverse digital fashion.

I am fascinated with Metamodernism, as defined by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van der Akker, the way they discuss this oscillation between past and future; so the name is a portmanteau of META and SENS, which is a word I often use in my practice to define my methodology, creating designs that give meaning to the process.

You mention the pandemic as a period of introspection and rethinking of your design process, what effect did the pandemic have on you as a designer?

When I was working during the pandemic, I became incredibly inspired by the power digital spaces have to connect people and help us communicate, so it was natural for me to develop my design practice for the digital arena.

In the past few years, I’ve also witnessed the prominence of digital fashion software, like Clo 3D. I learned the traditional craft of couture draping by hand when I studied in Paris back in the 90’s, being taught by Mr Marco who had himself worked with the great Christobal Balenciaga, but through digital software you can now drape patterns completely digitally.

Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2

The newest installation of META\SENS which you’re launching during this upcoming London Fashion Week is a collaborative project where you’ve worked alongside a group of digital fashion artists, why did you want to work alongside other creatives and why is it so important to the ethos of META\SENS TRILOGY COLLECTIVE?

I have always liked the idea of collaboration, so I was reached out to a group of digital artists to collaborate. When I was developing META\SENS I always aimed to take knowledge from the arts, design and couture and combine this with a new understanding of digital fashion, and working with artists who’ve learned and developed these skills during the pandemic was a way for me to explore how we can use fashion as a communication tool.

It creates a unique and very creative design process, like how paper collage was to the surrealists, and what the photocopier was to punk as photoshop has been for design iteration in the early 2000’s.

I scouted for people all over social media; Instagram and Facebook, I ended up working with artists based across five different continents in Melbourne, Mumbai, Amsterdam, London and New York, so it was really important for me to find an organic way of working together through different communication media like slack, WhatsApp and zoom, whilst being in very different time zones.

Experimentation has always been a huge part of your design process, how has working digitally changed or even pushed your methodology further?

When I was experimenting, re/deconstructing the digital toiles with Clo 3D, I started pulling the pattern fragments away from the digital body; I discovered within these digital threads you can see these strands called polygons; digital multi-coloured representations of the seams adjoining pattern pieces.

From this, I built on the idea that these polygons could become the tools for re and deconstructing the silhouette. I exported the pulled 3D sculptures as turntable videos, generating expanded garment structures that dynamically revolve around the body. Almost becoming an abstract 3D garment sculpture made up of fragments, it’s fascinating to see and experience. It allows you to view the garments in a new 3-dimensional way, deconstructing the semantics of traditional shapes and reconstructions into new forms whilst seeing how they merge.  

Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2

How did you work with physical garments and patterns whilst also incorporating these new digital processes?

I started the process for this collection by developing physical patterns, I spent time fitting these physical toiles two to three times before they became garments. I then scanned the garment patterns into a DXF digital format, so a digital designer/artist can put them all together.

After reconstructing these physical patterns into a digital garment, I then collaborated with the collective of digital artists I put together, getting them to explore how these garments would look on a bigger scale, making these 150% XXL versions of tailored jacket and seam garment digital patterns.

Some integrate different patterns from garments into the same object; you get this concept of mixing and creating hybrids out of a tailored jacket, a shirt with some plissé that becomes a dress, or something in-between. You play with the semantics whilst exploring how different fragments of pieces can be layered into new forms.

For META\SENS you’re incorporating aspects of the Metaverse and even working with the Metaverse Fashion Council and other digital labs. How would you define the Metaverse, and what is it bringing into the fashion world for designers and creatives?

The Metaverse is not defined yet as we are in it’s infancy; it's for us creative to define what could be inside it. The Metaverse is a new way of exploring what fashion is. We are just at the beginning of its evolution, so we don’t know what it will bring to the fashion world.

Of course, the Metaverse has been prominent in other industries for quite a long time, think of the gaming world. But in these past iterations, it’s often working with more low-res technology, the graphics aren’t as refined, and it’s often not as sophisticated as it could be.

With this collaboration, I reached out to the founder of Virtual Touch, a digital design lab based in Hong Kong; asking them to work with me on creating and developing an immersive gallery space. It took us two months to create it, and their team worked from my design sketches to create this space.

Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2

What inspired the design of your gallery space?

I did a lot of sketches inspired by Italian radical avant-garde design collective named SUPERSTUDIO from the 1960’s who worked with collage. I loved their low-tech cut and pasted collage images, working with abstract utopian and modern architecture and mixing it with found imagery. These images have that in-between feeling of meta-modernism, I’ve always been inspired by mixing things from the past with things from the future.

META\SENS is a continuation of your work in trilogies which has always been a prominent feature of your design process, how did you start working in this format? How does is shape your process as a designer?

I have always designed in trilogies. When I was invited to join Fashion East back in 2002 after my MA, it felt natural to continue my graduate collection, Ground Zero 00, which was inspired by 9/11; I named my first collection with Fashion East Ground Zero 01 then I continued with 02 and 03. Since then I’ve always worked within design trilogies, INSIDE OUT, FUTURE NOW, INRECON, HYRECON when relaunching the brand on a conceptual level and now META\SENS.

Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2

You use digital ‘glitches’ in your work a lot, it’s almost become one of your signatures, what attracted you to this concept and how are you developing it for the future installations of META\SENS?

I discovered the conceptual glitch during a pivotal first fashion film collaboration with Nick Knight for SHOWstudio back in 2004. I’ve been thinking for a while how to take this forward. I developed the digital glitch technique in collaboration with the film editor Maxim Young, who I’ve worked with since 15 years; For this new digital instalment I was looking into how I can explore the aesthetic of the conceptual glitch.

For me the glitch became the tool I was searching for whilst experimenting with Clo 3D, it was fascinating how these polygons can reveal the interstitial identities and the difference between one stage of a garment into another. They create utopian structures which are quite romantic and beautiful to look at. For the next stages of META\SENS I want to explore augmented reality and how this glitch can become something the audience can experience in virtual reality; the structures of the deconstructed garments swelling around you in a virtual space.

How would you go about developing a showroom, a traditionally physical space in a digital format?

For the next LFW, I will be re-launching the eponymous brand as a condensed concept brand under the LAUGESEN name, eliminating the designer's persona, just focussing on the design methodologies and true UNISEX concept with key signature pieces of reconstructed tailoring and hybrid reconstructed tailored sweatshirt T-shirts.

I want to subvert the traditional catwalk format with a phygital event that mixes physical presentation formats with immersive digital elements. I am also looking into how we can develop an online presence of a showroom; I’m always thinking of ways to re-launch the Laugesen brand in a physical way but with these modern digital assets; a phygital way.

I want the brand to have elements of both a physical and a digital space where people can discover the collection and the brand. Still, I’m mostly looking into how we can communicate these concepts in a manner where we can communicate with viewers, reaching people globally as well as locally.

One of the biggest advantages of working digitally is being able to communicate something that happened Infront of, let’s say, a relatively small group of people at London Fashion Week, in a global way where an international audience can experience a different version of the event and connect to my brand in a new way.

You’re a designer who has always moved with the times and is incredibly versed in modern and cutting-edge techniques, why is working digitally and incorporating these contemporary mediums so important to you?

Digital fashion is a way to communicate my design thinking and transform the traditional couture construction process into something new. These modern 3D formats have transformed how I see form, fashion and the future.  

Should other designers be making an effort to incorporate these digital techniques into their process? Where do you see this integration of old and new techniques taking the fashion world in the future?

All brands need to show this transformation from analogue to digital; it’s a way to relate to the consumer in a way where they feel connected to the brand whilst also feeling part of their vision.

I think working digitally can be a very poetic process, in the space I created, I was able to mix the spiritual atmosphere of the Himalayan mountains amalgamated with the SUPERSTUDIO architecture references that we will be re/using for an immersive 3-room gallery space in next LFW. I like re-appropriating my work and re-visiting methodologies I developed in the Hybrid Reconstruction philosophy and design archive. I believe that going forward, there is an oscillating way to integrate new and old techniques and amalgamate nostalgia and utopian desire into the same METAMODERN brand vision.

Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2
Jens Laugesen X Meta\Sens: Part 2

//JENS_LAUGESEN DESIGN / KONsensX Advisory /

Read Next
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Cookie Policy