There is a video of Damara Inglês – or at least her avatar – speaking at an interstellar summit somewhere in the metaverse. While the ember of a CGI sunset smoulders behind three talking heads, the designer begins to speak about her mother, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's when Inglês was just 16. “It’s a journey that allows me to connect with her in different ways, and that’s where fashion enters. It’s about the notion of memory and permanence, which is why I love having my fingerprints all over the metaverse. My offspring will see all the cheeky comments I once made there,” she said.
Born in Angola, raised in Lisbon, and schooled in London, Inglês’ commentary brings emotional heft to digital fashion, which is often presented as lacking in humanity. With work including building wearable filters for Gucci, Snapchat, Crypto Fashion Week, and the Institute of Digital Fashion, Inglês sees the metaverse as an evolutionary milestone, a borderless plane that will bring people together and empower minority groups. Her ultimate dream, she says, would be to start a metaverse training hub in Luanda, Angola. Though it may seem jarring to watch the designer speak about her mother’s illness to a pair of expressionless avatars, the creation of a URL space much safer than many are afforded IRL is, as Inglês notes, “beautifully poetic.”
Text Daniel Rodgers