Leslie Holden Discusses Digital Fashion, The Metaverse & Blockchain Reshaping The Fashion Industry
It was an honor to have Leslie Holden, a Visionary and Co-Founder at The Digital Fashion Group, a European-led collaboration between Fashion Academics and Industry. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in London — Leslie has worked in the Fashion Industry for many years. He worked as a Menswear Designer, Design Director, and Entrepreneur with companies such as Dunhill, Stefanel, Byblos, Burberry, and Liberty. Over 25 years of experience in the industry and international higher education led to Leslie being the Head of Fashion & Design at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI).
Leslie is nothing but fabulous, and you will understand why after watching this episode of NewForum. We had a great conversation with Leslie learning more about The Digital Fashion Group, his perspective on how the Metaverse reshaping the Fashion Industry, how fashion brands can enter Web3, and his predictions and vision of the future of Digital Fashion.
We were curious to know more about Leslie’s background and experiences, and how it all led him right where he is today as the Co-Founder of The Digital Group.
Leslie’s history goes back a long way- he did a Fashion Design Degree in Edinburgh and then his Master’s Degree in London at the Royal College of Art. He began working with various brands mentioned above right after.
“I gradually got into Fashion Education kind of, not aware. It just happened, and then suddenly, I realized that I have been in Fashion Education for quite a long time, and I think I find that so rewarding. I can see all my years of experience in the Fashion Industry-leading towards Fashion Education …” — Leslie
At the beginning of 2020, Leslie realized that it had been fifteen years working as an Educator at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI), and it was time to move on. He asked himself what he wanted to do for the rest of his life and had a profound burning question about the digitalization of fashion.
“ I had initiated one of the first courses in 3D virtual prototyping in AMFI in 2007, so I had a lot of experience in how the creative uses virtual prototyping…” — Leslie
Leslie added that just at the beginning of the lockdown in 2020, he and his business partner Sean Chiles had a conversation on video chat and decided that they wanted to start The Digital Fashion Group.
As I said to him, COVID will change everything; the whole way we work, we look at our work, how we consider how we study will change, and orthodox Fashion Education will never be the same again. It can never be the same again…” — Leslie
Hear all about how his desire for a career change and quest to answer a profound burning question about the digitalization of fashion led to him Co-Founding The Digital Fashion Group. He also shared all you need to know about The Digital Fashion Group in his full interview!
“We consider ourselves leading the conversation in Fashion Education. We look at changing the status quo and how to progress digitalization in the industry and digital transformation in society in general. We believe that by embracing a digital mindset from point zero in education, digital strategy should be developed to address things like the harmful impacts of the Fashion Industry on our environment and society as a whole...” — Leslie
Leslie is indeed an OG in the Fashion Industry. We like the way he thinks, embracing the evolution of fashion as we know it and playing such a crucial role in Fashion Education. We also wanted to know what Leslie thought about how brands could join Web3 to begin to build their digital brands.
Leslie shared that he thinks there are many opportunities, but it is still in the early stages, and everyone has gotten excited very quickly about the potential of Web3. He added that he thinks we need to keep it in perspective.
Leslie is an Educator, indeed; he didn’t just go straight to the answer.
He took his time to give us a little history about Web3 with beginners in our community in mind. Leslie described Web3 as essentially a third version of the internet. Leslie shared that there is confusion about the difference between Web3 and Web2 and the Metaverse. According to Leslie, some people say that there is only one Metaverse and others say there are several Metaverses.
Leslie explained that we are in the early stages, so the definitions won’t be so clear, and the fabulous question he posed to our community is who is defining this Metaverse?
He described Web3 as the third version of the internet and that Web2 saw the birth of giants such as Google and Amazon, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, and all these large companies.
Web2 is about large tech companies owning these platforms; we use these platforms, and we finance these companies to get bigger and more controlling, he explained.
Leslie shared that the most exciting thing about Web3 is how it empowers individuals to own their data, collaborate or trade and work together without going through a large governing body, allowing users and suppliers to work openly and transparently together for themselves. Watch Leslie’s full interview to hear him break down the pros of Web3 and his definition of the Metaverse.
We also asked Leslie to share his perspective on how brands can join Web3 to build their digital brands or identity.
“These new tools can give various and different new brands and businesses possibilities- Fashion Brands can take advantage of it, not only financially but from a sustainable perspective, and the future of Web3 is fundamentally about diversity...” — Leslie
Watch Leslie’s interview to hear him expound on how brands could join Web3 to build their digital identity. He also shared his views on the Metaverse and its role in reshaping the Fashion Industry. Leslie explained that the Metaverse is functioning as a platform for marketing at the moment, but it continues to evolve in many ways redefining how we perceive fashion.
But I think it’s currently a kind of catch-all term that describes everything from luxury labels teaming up with game developers to create skins with companies like Balenciaga and Fortnite or Ralph Lauren and Roblox, or Lacoste and Minecraft for example or companies like DRESSX to be creating this kind of social media photographs” — Leslie
We cannot talk about Digital Fashion and the Metaverse without discussing how it impacts the Fashion Industry sustainably. We asked Leslie to tell us his views on how Blockchain and Digital Fashion help play a role in solving the environmental issues posed Fashion Industry.
“One of our key objectives is to see digital as a pragmatic tool to help Sustainability in the Fashion Industry. I envision The Digital Fashion Group as far as Web3 and the Metaverse goes, and it’s really about the tools that can help us be more sustainable…” — Leslie
Leslie shared how Blockchain and Digital Fashion can play an essential role in solving the sustainability issues in the Fashion Industry as we know it.
We also enjoyed listening to him share his inspiring background and transition story to Web3.
In this episode of NEWFORUM, Leslie talked about the vision, mission, and values of The Fashion Group and even described how anyone interested in learning about The Digital Fashion could enroll.
Aside from being an Educator with several years of experience, Leslie also worked with renowned fashion brands such as Dunhill, Stefanel, Byblos, Burberry, and Liberty; this led to the discussion about how brands can join Web3- to begin to build a digital identity. Leslie shared his insightful and well-articulated perspective on this topic from experience. The episode ended with a conversation about the Metaverse, Digital Fashion, Blockchain, and how they are reshaping the Fashion Industry to solve the negative impact on the environment.
Tune in to listen to this remarkably informative and insightful episode about the future of the Fashion Industry!
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