Melbourne fashion designer Oscar Keene’s eponymous label is unique in offering us a view into the future of the industry. Combining digital and physical technologies, Oscar produces digital garments before turning them into real life clothing items.
“As a queer person, fashion has always been an important and sometimes [a] divisive and polarising mode of self-expression for me,” explains Oscar. “[So] I love exploring concepts, world-building and creating visual narratives.”
A multi-disciplinary fashion practice
Oscar studied fashion at RMIT in Melbourne, graduating from the associate degree and Bachelors Honours programmes in Fashion. He has also interned with top Melbourne brands Kloke and Edgeley, and launched his eponymous label in 2021.
“I launched the brand because I saw a gap in the market for a multi-disciplinary fashion practice that combined digital and physical prototyping, and to capitalise on the successes I have had in the digital fashion space,” Oscar says.
“There have been challenges starting a small label, mainly to do with having to perform multiple roles, like being my own accounts manager, patternmaker, machinist, salesperson, designer etc. I’m both my own boss and my own employee!”
As a creative, Oscar is inspired by a wide variety of people: “A lot of my inspiration comes from people not within the fashion space, particularly academics who work in gender theory and materiality.
“Within the fashion industry I am very inspired by the queer performer Leigh Bowery, as well as Charles Jeffrey’s London-based label Loverboy which celebrates the aesthetics of queer nightlife.”
Blending digital and physical
The uniqueness of the Oscar Keene brand is that it blends digitally produced fashion with actual, physical clothes.
“Oscar Keene is a multidisciplinary fashion label that fuses immersive digital content with physical collections,” says Oscar. “With garments and fabrics designed in-house and made in Melbourne, the studio celebrates bold, original prints and sophisticated tailoring driven by concept.”
Oscar designs and then has reproduced the original prints used on his garments with one of Australia’s top fabric printing companies, Next State Print.
“I would describe the brand as bold, original and engaging, and a little bit dark. My current collection, The Digital Temple of Synthetic Flora, exemplifies the brand as it celebrates unique Australian flora through a fusion of print, hand-drawn illustrations, 3D animation and garment design,” Oscar says. “Oscar Keene is a brand with an immersive, future-focused approach to design that aligns seamlessly with pre-existing fashion practices.”
When it comes to being sustainable, the brand is again uniquely positioned to be proactive in the area. “The digital space aligns seamlessly with pre-existing fashion practices. Concept design, patternmaking and prototyping can be accurately recreated virtually,” explains Oscar.
“There is no waste involved in these phases of production, and due to the accuracy of the simulations, the waste involved in creating the final physical garments is reduced. Digital outfits can be altered and made-to-measure digitally, and the rendered outcomes accurately convey the final appearance.
“I prototype [designs] digitally which means that before committing to a physical prototype I can accommodate and visually depict all body types and all gender expressions on digital avatars for potential clients.”
As a relatively young brand, there is a lot of room for growth for the Oscar Keene brand, both digitally and in-real-life, and its future is bright.
“Creating visually engaging and conceptually immersive collections is very fulfilling, and seeing those garments become fully realised and worn by people is very satisfying!” he says.
“I look forward to being able to continue to create meaningful and impactful collections through my brand Oscar Keene.”
For more information about Oscar Keene, go to www.oscarkeene.com. All Oscar Keene garments can be made to order and are available through the website. You can follow the brand on Instagram at @oscar.keene.designs.
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