Digital fashion platform SYKY has launched a year-long incubator program called The SYKY Collective to help emerging digital designers grow their brands. The program’s inaugural class includes 10 designers who will work together to develop their individual brands and pave the way for the fast-evolving world of digital fashion. The designers were selected from various fields, including fashion, photography, digital art, spatial computing art, and footwear design.
The incubator program is part of SYKY’s mission to decentralize creativity and bring new mediums into the traditional fashion world. The designers will work under the mentorship of SYKY founder and CEO Alice Delahunt as well as industry leaders from the British Fashion Council, Calvin Klein, and Red DAO.
The cohort will be releasing their first collections on SYKY later this year. Despite the mainstream hype cycle for NFTs and the metaverse, there is still cynicism about digital designers, according to Delahunt. She added that “there are designers who are designing in these spaces, and there are consumers who are in digital worlds consuming and expressing their identity.”
Taskin Goec, one of the designers selected to participate in the cohort, said he’s looking forward to expanding his design skills alongside a group of artists and mentors who are well-versed in digital fashion and Web3. “I don’t want to work just by myself in my own case, but I want to actually join this family so that we can create something bigger together,” said Goec.
In addition to learning new skills, the cohort is also focused on diversifying the industry. SYKY Collective aims to break down barriers to entry into the fashion world by empowering new artists. “The more houses that can exist at a grassroots level that can scale, the more creative, more inclusive, and more diversified the fashion industry will be,” said Delahunt.
Adaku Emenike and Oluchi Nwachukwu, the Nigerian duo behind fashion brand Nextberries, said that the barriers to entry to digital design are particularly high in Nigeria due to a “traditional mindset” and lack of access to digital resources. “With the collective, this is what we are looking to change in Nigeria and Africa as a whole because the digital world isn’t yet [as familiar] here,” said Nwachukwu.
SYKY has spent the past year building out its community to help foster decentralized creativity ahead of its platform launch. In January, it announced a $9.5 million funding round led by Seven Seven Six, a VC firm founded in 2020 by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. In addition, it released its Keystone Pass, a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that grants access to its private community of 987 fashion leaders, collectors, designers, and enthusiasts.
In June, SYKY was awarded as one of the World Economic Forum’s “Technology Pioneers” for 2023. Digital fashion has primarily been discussed in terms of events, including Metaverse Fashion Week. Still, SYKY’s incubator program shows that the platform is dedicated to nurturing emerging digital designers while furthering its mission to decentralize creativity and bring new mediums into the traditional fashion world.