December 15, 2022
Author: Leila Ismailova // Co-founder at ARTISANT.
Fashioning Masculinities Contest shed the light on the definition of what is masculine in our day and age.
Pearls, corsets, fluidity, vulnerability - you’d be stunned by the amount of new terms and definitions for what is masculine. The latest contest for digital fashion designers organized by ARTISANT and Jenny Metaverse DAO is worth visiting for it will expand your mind and make you think.
In the XXth century, fashion became the primary medium for emancipation. The godfather of haute couture Paul Poiret liberated women from torturous corsets. Short haircuts, pants, portable makeup, functional clothes - all became a part of women’s wardrobe. Femininity was redefined and recreated for the modern day renaissance woman.

It is not surprising that in the XXI century, we now look at masculinity and try to interpret it. Today, men want to remove suffocating ties and rectangular suits, as much as women tried to liberate themselves from the corsets in the early XXth century. As if the karmic loop came to an end, and now, a century later, men want to wear corsets, color nails, open legs with skirts and slits…

As you explore the designs of the Fashioning Masculinity - you will see sensitivity, vulnerability, delicacy, and so many other facets and layers of masculine fashion that were overlooked for a long time. And now, through visual looks, all these beautiful emotions are brought on the surface and allow men to be themselves.
The concept of the contest came around in September during the twitter space, when Jenny Metaverse DAO and ARTISANT were brainstorming ideas on how to support artists during the recession. One of the biggest art collectors, DAO committed to collecting the designs of the winners, and the leading digital fashion platform took on the role of the organizer. Instantly, after announcement, the submissions started flooding in, over 90 in total. With the network effect of the vast communities of each designer, Fashioning Masculinities Contest gained popularity before the designs saw the light of day.

Various communities of Web3 world, and not only, wanted to join the initiative that supported the artists - the vulnerable yet essential part of our world. CloneX by RTFKT avatars, Spatial, beauty brands L’Oreal Professional and Maybelline - wanted to motivate designers by putting them in a spotlight and giving away valuable prizes.
This is quite a unique moment for the web3 culture - when so many platforms with diverse missions unite efforts and commit significant resources to fulfill one mission - giving the voice to the community - The Artists. And this is one of the most beautiful elements of the Web3 culture that I celebrate and applaud at the submissions we've had. If we want to make a difference in the world, Fashioning Masculinities is a great example of how we can do it and have fun along the way!

I am Stephy Fung, one of the jury members for the contest, and a digital fashion artist myself. Throughout my career and partnerships with major brands and media platforms, I learned the relevance of digital fashion and how it can be a medium to express my voice and identity. Side by side with David Cash, Gia Valintina, Steven Gaertner, and Digital Fashion Princess, we had to make tough decisions on the winners. Of course special prizes from partners - Spatial, L’Oreal Professional and Maybelline - removed some pressure from picking the top three designers. But it still wasn’t easy.
I decided to write this article because I wanted to put these courageous young voices into the rightful spotlight they deserve.
The third place in the Fashioning masculinities contest went to Florencia Arezzo and her Dandy_4.0 design. This design is about the performance of masculinity, and about admitting that there is no rulebook for what it means to be a man.
The second place went to Monika and her monochrome Duality. This outfit is amalgamation of multiple facets of masculinity. It talks about boundless vision for masculine fashion where the odds meet and co-exist in harmony.
Finally, the first place was rightfully given to one of the brightest designers who dares not only put themselves into the arena but also use authentic personal voice in creativity - Morchen Liu is the absolute winner of the Fashioning Masculinities Contest! Their digital haute couture piece Creature questions “who am I?” Referencing 70s glam rock style, Morchen redefines what menswear can look like with confidence.
We want to mention, that all 13 finalists were invited to participate in Metaverse Fashion Week - 2023, their designs will be minted as the courtesy of ARTISANT, and two wonderful designers Paridhi aka Onclickcloset and Florencia Arezzo won special prizes from L’Oreal Professional and Maybelline.

At a golden age of fashion inclusivity and accessibility, and thanks to advancing technology, we can truly dive deep into our inner worlds, and express it!

I congratulate each contestant, and I want to keep this discussion of modern day masculinity going as there is a lot more to say and create. And I thank every partner who jumped on this project and made it better, for it proves that there is no winter cold enough and that the power of community and art are unstoppable and will elevate each member and get us through all the challenges.

WAGMI frens!