Generative art and fashion photography merge at Marie Claire Arabia to promote sustainability, social impact, and technological innovation.

Kate Vass
5 min readMay 3, 2021
Chanel, Marie Claire Arabia, 2021. Photographed by Jacques Burga, feat. AI generated specimen by Sofia Crespo. Image is a courtesy of Kate Vass Galerie

Mainstream media has been reporting daily on crypto-currencies and the emerging revolution of decentralized finance, and other trends in the fintech world.

The crypto-hype also left its traces in the art world. When people were willing to pay a five-digit amount for a virtual currency, why wouldn’t they be willing to pay the same sum for a crypto punk? It didn’t take long for the smiling crypto kitties and crypto punks to conquer the hearts of speculators and blockchain enthusiasts, with some characters reaching five to six-digit price tags.

For the last months, we have seen NFTs, so-called Non-Fungible Tokens, getting popularized; after many were sold for several million dollars, it became interesting for the broader audience and attracted new industries music, film, gaming and sport. In an era with little or no in-game fan revenue because of pandemic health-safety protocols, concepts such as NFTs and blockchain are viewed by leagues, teams, owners and athletes as opportunities to make more money.

While every day brings another media story about a new non-fungible NFT record sale in various sectors, the luxury fashion world has remained relatively quiet, not considering ‘sneakers’ auction sales at Sotheby’s . However, fashion and art have a long history; it was just a matter of time when one of the most significant industry reacts and bursts with NFTs. Vogue Business has confirmed with multiple industry sources that some luxury fashion houses are close to releasing NFTs.

At the same time, NFTs also may be a threat to the environment. One may assume that buying virtual clothes, as NFTs, would be saving resources, but the minting of assets on the blockchain requires vast amounts of energy. In December 2020, artist Memo Atken drew attention to the high energy costs of blockchain technology with his article “The Unreasonable Ecological Cost of CryptoArt”. Developers worldwide are now working to find an alternative solution that is less harmful to the climate.

However, artists like Jaques Burga and Sofia Crespo took the initiative to outpace the high fashion and collaborated to bring awareness to the sustainability issues in the fashion industry. The outcome of this duet creative shoot was published by Marie Claire Arabia April issue. Initiated by Kate Vass Galerie and Roger M. Benites from Blockchain Center NYC, the main goal of this issue was to implement digital art, virtual reality, and blockchain tech into the fashion and photography industry. Believing that by merging technology and digital art, we have the power to help reach the sustainability target for the fashion industry and help avoid catastrophic climate change. We understand the cultural influence the fashion industry plays in our everyday lives and its global scale reach, which is why we believe we are at a pivotal stage to merge these two industries for a global cause.

Hermes, Marie Claire Arabia, 2021. Photographed by Jacques Burga, feat. ‘Tiger’ by Sofia Crespo. Image is a courtesy of Kate Vass Galerie.

In its initial phase, blocktech helps create a new marketplace for artists and creators. Still, in its latter step, it will create a protocol or benchmark that would only interact and negotiate with brands and influencers that help promote sustainability, social impact, and technological innovation. The beauty of blocktech is that not only does it increase transparency and provenance, but it also helps validate and trace which brands and influencers are genuinely committing to the protocol using state-of-the-art technology.

The collaboration of two completely different artists, an established fashion photographer and generative artist Sofia Crespo, who is working with a considerable interest in biology-inspired technologies, founds its creative outcome in the fashion photoshoot feat. brands like: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, YSL and was published in Marie Claire April issue. The fashion model is posing on the background of generative art by Sofia Crespo and interacting with 3D insect specimens created resulting from a collaboration with Feileacan McCormick, Sofia’s studio partner at Entangled Others Studio.

Louis Viutton, Marie Claire Arabia, 2021. Photographed by Jacques Burga, feat.Sofia Crespo. Image is a courtesy of Kate Vass Galerie. Available as NFT

Sofia Crespo’s interview with Marie Claire, as well the photoshoot with Jacques Burga, can be viewed in English here:

Artist’s Bios:

Sofia Crespo is an artist working with a huge interest in biology-inspired technologies. One of her main focuses is how organic life uses artificial mechanisms to simulate itself and evolve, this implying the idea that technologies are a biased product of the organic life that created them and not a wholly separated object. Crespo looks at the similarities between AI image formation techniques and how humans express themselves creatively and cognitively recognize their world. Her work brings into question the potential of AI in artistic practice and its ability to reshape our understandings of creativity. On the side, she is also hugely concerned with the dynamic change in the role of the artists working with machine learning techniques.

Jacques Burga is a photographer and entrepreneur born in Lima, Peru and lives in Paris, France but travels around the world.

In addition to his work for prestigious publications and companies such as Moda Operandi, The Webster, and Loreal, his work goes beyond photography towards organizing Charitable causes. During this unfortunate pandemic, Jacques wrote a letter published Vogue Mexico to inspire resilience and created a Charity organization named “Charity Fair” to help UNICEF PERU, where he raised $10 000 entirely donated to the institution. He has had also joined Fashion Trust Arabia on their latest Charity project.

Jacques has been and is passionate about Beauty. For him, creating with passion by working hard is another of his life philosophies. “There is nothing to replace work.