The key purpose of Crowdmuse is to turn creation into a multiplayer experience. The creative process is best when shared, so we matched the two that we felt would best resonate with each other for a FEST23 collaboration as part of our first curated digi-physical drop: FWB and DECODE.
Our conversations with FWB that led to this collaboration commenced earlier in the year where we pitched a few iterations on collaborative drops with our creator network in fashion pattern 3D design and manufacturing.
A couple of demos later on a v1 prototype, the team at FWB decided to take a leap of faith and partner up with Crowdmuse for an exclusive FEST23 Zero Waste Tee Collection in collaboration with DECODE.
Read the full Editorial piece - ‘WEB3 IN THE WOODS: FEST COLLABORATOR ROLL CALL FWB FEST23’.
The FEST23 Zero Waste Tee Collection is more than just merch to mark the memory of FWBs annual FEST—it is a use case for creators in a multiplayer collaboration to monetize their talent, signaling the emergence of buyers collecting physical apparel onchain.
Now that FEST is behind us, we reached out to the collaborators to gather learnings and reflect on the co-creation experience.
We chatted with Founder Danielle Elsener and Clayton Haun from DECODE, a leading Zero Waste Design and Manufacturer in Brooklyn, NY.
CM: DECODE submitted the ‘Waste is a Design Flaw’ pdf artifact to highlight the high level of waste going into garment manufacturing. (See this gated artifact in the ‘Product includes’ section here).
Tell us more about your approach to zero waste pattern design and manufacturing.
Currently, the fashion industry's raw material waste (known as pre-consumer waste) is the elephant in the room we are addressing, wasting on average 15-25% of all material manufactured. That's why every garment you've ever owned already has a massive amount of waste attached to it before you've even purchased it or thrown it away. For every four t-shirts you've ever owned, the industry threw away one t-shirt worth of scraps. This pre-consumer waste comes in weighing 15 million tons, every year. Again, 100% of this can be eliminated through our process.
This is due to inefficient design, which is why we state that "Waste is a Design Flaw." Imagine if you could reduce landfill usage immediately through efficient design practices, with no compromise on fit or style for the end consumer.
We also like to describe our process as "building positive space," since so much of our time is spent manipulating the positive and negative space in the garment's blueprint until there is only positive space left. Secondly, it allows us to express optimism in the face of a sea of negativity. So much of what we hear in sustainability is laced with pessimism, to the point it becomes noisy and counterintuitive.
Another great way to look at it is that through scaling Zero Waste, we're actually shrinking the footprint of the industry. Our process not only makes sense for business, but it more importantly makes sense for our planet. By embracing the laws of nature (human nature included), we can move mountains.
Lastly, while other methodologies of Zero Waste are valid, they rely on waste for their methodology to exist. Through our innovative process, we eliminate waste from the source, achieving 100% material efficiency through our engineering techniques. And because our process is compatible with the world's most prevalent manufacturing methodology & infrastructure (cut and sew production), our process is highly scalable.
Combine our process with the world's leading post-consumer innovations, and together we can create the ultimate future of circularity in fashion.
CM: Amongst other industries, fashion has been known for its poor wages and protectiveness of IP.
What are your thoughts on multiplayer products with revenue splits on primary sales and creator IP onchain?
We think it's great! We've become increasingly interested in the concept of Zero Knowledge contracts, where we can still protect the most important elements of our process while giving access to anyone who wants to participate.
The fashion industry is incredibly predatory, so whatever guardrails can be implemented will benefit individual creators from being taken advantage of by large brands. What Crowdmuse is building is so important, we can only imagine the level of care you’re putting into executing it correctly. We're here for it!
This is not DECODE’s first onchain experiment for garment transparency, check out their Hypebeast feature - DECODE Taps Bryce Wong to Focus on "Building Positive Space".
CM: Product drops and brand collaborations have become an unstoppable retail trend influenced by the likes of GOODENOUGH (abbreviated as GDEH) and Supreme.
From a co-creation standpoint, how did you find this process with the FEST23 drop with Crowdmuse as the curator?
Having worked in the industry and witnessed collaborations from the inside, with many fueled by ego, we found the opposite when working with FWB & Crowdmuse. There was a lot of mutual respect and a willingness to collaborate. Having interacted with a number of DAOs at this point, FWB takes the lead—they're an extremely professional team that pulled off a flawless festival.
Likewise, we can only see Crowdmuse's already solid curation and collaboration abilities increase with every project they work on. As soon as there's an opportunity to work with Crowdmuse again in the future, we won't hesitate.
CM: What excited us the most about this drop was the community opt-in and co-creation that took place for the design of the tees.
Could you talk us through the co-creation process with the FWB community which included voting on final designs?
There’s no secret sauce to the co-creation process – our community uses lightweight consensus and voting to handle decision-making. Members anticipated a merch component to FEST and we shared the available decisions in real time – merch types, shirt colors, and the actual designs. We used Discord polling to reach a conclusion pretty quickly on the direction!
CM: And how do you think this process of co-creation fits into the FWB community identity and principles?
FWB is a worldwide group of cultural creators, thinkers, and builders with a shared vision for a better internet. As a community-owned and community-governed organization, FWB produces all kinds of global events and experiences that require co-creation and cosigning across our membership—including product launches, content and stories, and, oh yeah, even our own large-scale festival!
CM: Crowdmuse led the curation of the drop which included matching DECODE and FWB to collaborate on a Zero Waste Tee collection. FEST is held in a scenic location in Idyllwild, California, 3 hours outside of LA with a focus on meeting internet frens and touching grass!
What are your thoughts on how digi-physical apparel can be utilized as a cause for good to spread better messaging when it comes to what we buy and consume?
So much of the process and production behind what we consume is hidden and obscured across layers of technology and infrastructure. This applies to apparel where many, many hands are involved in the process of design, manufacturing, shipping, marketing, etc. Tying a digital component that holds this information and its impact to the physical product itself makes engaging with the reality (good and bad) of consumption more transparent and accessible.
CM: Lastly, Izzy what was your favorite talk and/or moment during FEST23?
I’m a huge Mindy Seu fan and was unbelievably excited when she agreed to do a performative reading of her book Cyberfeminism Index. It’s an incredible feat of research and critique packaged up into a beautiful bright green book that, in a lot of ways, embodies the spirit of collaboration and contradiction inherent to DAOs! This applies to Mindy Seu but honestly most of the lecturers that were at FEST—they’re niche and thinking on the edge of culture and technology so to have them all in one place at the same time felt so unique and true to the magic of FWB and FEST. My favorite moment was the after party at Ferro and feeling so proud of what we all accomplished together with a really delicious slice of pizza.
FEST23 Zero Waste Tee Collection available on crowdmuse.xyz
For updates on the next FWB FEST go to fwbfest.xyz