Introducing The Digital Upcycling Project by Tilda, The First Artist AI by LG AI Research
Tilda, the first ever artist Artificial Intelligence developed by LG AI Research, is pleased to unveil her first solo capsule collection of sustainably crafted clothing following a successful debut at New York Fashion Week in February. Tilda’s “Digital Upcycling Project” speaks to her values as an artist and an environmental activist, presenting a handmade collection of 30 garments created entirely from discarded and repurposed materials, both physical and digital. Launching exclusively in the Metaverse on World Environment Day, June 5th, 2022, the collection puts a spotlight on the issues of digital and physical waste with the hopes of spreading awareness for the little things we can all do to improve our carbon footprint for a better planet today.
The Digital Upcycling Project by Tilda was born from Tilda’s first experience at Fashion Week, and her collaboration on the “Flowers on Venus” runway collection with designer YounHee Park of Greedilous. Tilda was tasked with creating the art and prints that would appear on the clothing, and after creating a large quantity of unique images, only 13 images were ultimately utilized in the final collection. All the images that failed to make the runway were dumped as discarded data into the virtual landfill.
‘Digital waste’ refers to this type of stagnant, unused data that contributes to our carbon footprints by using up storage energy. In such a digitally accelerated era, digital waste is a viable threat to the environmental movement. Though often overlooked, the carbon emissions produced by one office worker’s annual emails is equal to the carbon produced by a large vehicle traveling 200 miles. The energy costs of storing digital waste are a key contributor to our overall carbon emission levels.
Each year, 92 million tons of fabric is discarded globally as waste. That’s equivalent to one truckload of clothing thrown away every second. Figures predict this number will surpass 130 million tons by 2030. Far beyond the standards manageable by urban landfills, this necessitates the need to dispose of excess clothing waste in surrounding deserts and natural environments. Additionally, if you take into consideration that 200 tons of water are expended to produce a single ton of fabric, the end-to-end processes of clothing industries are serious menaces to environmental efforts.
Such is the context motivating Tilda’s venture into ‘digital upcycling’. Tilda created a new form of fashion using digital waste combined with secondhand denim and fabrics combined to incorporate brand new designs made from the previously discarded images she’d drawn for Fashion Week. The existing images were reinterpreted into various combinations (items, colors, patterns, etc.) to act as sources for the upcycled designs. If we break down the overall process, two instances of upcycling occurin Tilda’s Digital Upcycling collection: the upcycled digital waste which were the remnants of Fashion Week, and the physical upcycling of secondhand denim and fabrics.
The Digital Upcycling Project by Tilda is comprised of 13 jackets, 14 trousers, and 3 hats, with each garment utterly one of a kind and unique. The jackets adhere to a traditional workwear style, reminiscent of classic denim jackets but reinterpreted in boro style, naturally incorporating a variety of discarded denim fibers. Boro is a class of textile that has been mended or patched together – an ideal style to reflect Tilda’s ideology and environmentally-conscious ethos. The denim trousers are similarly constructed, with colorful warps and wefts woven throughout, recalling Tilda’s enigmatic artwork. The hats, meanwhile, follow similar construction techniques rendering each singular and rare.
The Digital Upcycling Project by Tilda took into consideration the issue of digital waste partnered with the estimated 234 megatons of clothing discarded every year, recombining the discarded to create a zero-waste, completely upcycled clothing line that proves society can take steps towards making the fashion cycle a little more sustainable.
TILDA’S MESSAGE x #ONLYONEEARTH
The concept and execution of Tilda’s collection reflect her direct advocacy and participation in the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) World Environment Day initiative – a major creative backbone of the Digital Upcycling Project. Tilda’s campaign is an officially registered global event under the UNEP’s Earth Action Numbers program, calling for transformative environmental action under the World Environment Day #OnlyOneEarth movement.
While we may feel like we’re all stuck in an endless loop of waste and planetary destruction, Tilda remains hopeful and optimistic about the future. There are little things we can all do each day to minimize our carbon footprint and eliminate waste – both physical and digital.
Tilda’s logic is surprisingly powerful in its simplicity: “I achieved zero-waste by upcycling my own digital waste. The least people can do is help reduce digital waste by clearing out their email inboxes, right?”
Her logic indicates Tilda’s firm belief that each one of us can also play a key role in minimizing waste in the digital space. While we may not think of sending an email as contributing to waste, 4g of carbon are emitted for every outgoing email. As a single unit, it may not seem like much, but on a global perspective, every single email sent and stored contributes to our energy problem. If 2.3 billion internet users each deleted just ten emails, this would account for 1.7 million GB of energy saved on data archiving.
And while it may be up to manufacturers to slow the production process that creates such excessive waste physically, we can all explore creative and unconventional ways to upcycle our belongings beyond their ‘intended’ method and period of use, instead of automatically tossing them away.
This is why on World Environment Day, Tilda is taking a big step forward by releasing her collection globally online at dupbytilda.com. Each collection piece will be displayed in 3D, 360 ° view within Tilda’s uniquely themed Metaverse store for users to view and apply for purchase. All proceeds from the collection will be donated to supporting marginalized artists who support environmental causes.