Exclusive: Inside SYKY’s Afro-Surrealist Collection With GLITCHOFMIND

BY Afrodet Zuri

December 01, 2023

The next digital fashion designer from the SYKY Collective set to debut their collection is GLITCHOFMIND, a digital artist based in the Netherlands who is originally from the Dominican Republic. SYKY will present GLITCHOFMIND’s collection, INTERLôR VOL. 1: Awaken, combining elements of art, fashion, and editorial content to form what the artist describes as “storytelling couture.”  GLITCHOFMIND’s creations are an intriguing blend of cultural heritage, imaginative elements, and cutting-edge technology. His influences are drawn from photography, Afro-surrealism, and architectural design.

INTERLôR VOL. 1 unfolds in an imaginary realm, weaving captivating narratives through editorial visuals and experiences. Central to INTERLôR is its narrative-driven approach, allowing audiences to delve into a saga that intertwines avant-garde digital fashion with rich elements of nature, heritage, and folklore, exploring themes of identity and expression. Each series acts as a gateway to new realism, presenting fresh editorial tales and innovative garments that encourage viewers to envision a reimagined world. The name INTERLôR, a blend of “Inter” (meaning between) and “Lore” (representing Folklore and traditional stories), reflects the brand’s essence, offering not just a digital fashion narrative but a range of experiences, harnessing cutting-edge technology to deeply engage and transport its audience into its universe.

We sat down with GLITCHOFMIND, who we now will forever fondly call Leonel, but you can refer to him as Glitch for an exclusive interview ahead of his launch. 

nft now: How do your Dominican roots influence your art and this collection specifically?

GLITCHOFMIND: I was raised between the Dominican Republic and Panama, and throughout, I was conditioned to feel shame of my heritage, of my blackness and queerness. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I began my process of unlearning, rediscovering, and finding pride and beauty in my heritage. For the first time, I let my afro grow and embraced my locs, which became a symbol of resilience and resistance. Throughout my process of unlearning, I found a lot of inspiration for my work. This collection, and like most of my work, is a reinvention of my experiences, a healing process of storytelling. Understanding where I came from and releasing that shame helped me reimagine my past, explore a future, and use my experience and identity as a catalyst for my fantastical universe.

Could you walk us through your creative process for merging art, fashion, and editorial in “INTERLôR VOL. 1: Awaken”? 

I wanted to share my own story about my awakening and the creative process that comes with digital storytelling. I was doing a lot of photography before I entered the digital fashion space. I was crazy about Tim Walker, and I was fascinated by the way he displayed his works, the storytelling of the fashion that was not only focused on the garment itself but the whole story behind it. I wanted to do something focused on more than the garment. I wanted to tell a different story using different material and integrating fantasy.  So, when I joined the SYKY Collective, I wanted to bring a more editorial storytelling style to my designs, which they loved and embraced. 

What role does photography play in your creative process?

Photography plays a huge role. It is the perfect medium to tell stories and capture the simple delicateness of the movement of a particular subject. This is the perfect environment to play in. I wanted to merge big fashion moments with editorial fashion photography, like the kind that we see in magazines.

How do you incorporate elements of Afro-surrealism in your work, particularly in this collection?

The main core of Afro-surrealism is being inspired by your own experience and recreating that into a fantasy. Afro-surrealism has a heavier focus on my experiences as a Black queer Latin American. When I joined the NFT space, I was trying to define myself. In my research on art and surrealism, my work is not exactly melting clocks and weird creatures. It’s about emotion, solitude, loneliness, and rejection. When I first read Henry Dumas’ manifesto on Afro-surrealism, I was so inspired. This was the beginning of what led to the creation of the world I am designing in INTERLôR VOL. 1: Awaken.  I use a lot of symbolism in my work – similar to how some artists use the ocean to symbolize emotion, I like to use ‘built environments’ like a house or a building or a room to symbolize the state of mind someone is in. In this collection, I use these rooms to symbolize the state of decay of society at this moment.

Can you explain the concept of “storytelling couture” and how it manifests in your designs?

My vision was to create editorial digital fashion as though you were looking at editorial photography. Why the Victorian essence? I was inspired by French magazines La Mode Illustrée and Pride & Prejudice, the one with Keira Knightley. I love this kind of design because it is constrictive in its movement and symbolizes emotional constraint. I wanted to create a visual, a fashion design, that would be more than just a costume or an art piece, a story that you can read. 

What technological innovations have you utilized in creating this collection?

It started as a sketch on paper, and then I went into researching poses and used DAZ3D.. I used Marvelous Designer to create the costume designs for the character and Blender for the environment, such as the walls and textures. I used VR Sculpting to create the headpieces and the tree elements in INTERLôR VOL. 1: Awaken. I used Stable Diffusion (AI) to iterate textures that I would later convert into 3D maps and apply them to the fabrics, as everything in this collection is inspired by the texture of mycelium. 

How do you balance the digital and physical aspects in your artwork?

The reason I wanted to adopt a more editorial fashion aesthetic was to also be able to experiment with different mediums in the future in the hope of bringing it to life with this story. One of my main goals is to create editorial printed editions of the works, a magazine that tells you the story of this character. Stay tuned for INTERLôR VOL. 2.

Are there any specific architects or architectural styles that have influenced this collection?

For this collection, I was inspired by Victorian styles and contrasted them with elements of nature and mycelium. I wanted to symbolize the decay of historic styles that we all recognize and rebirth it into something new. You will see more in the future of how I blend Brutalism with nature, and I will use Brutalism to create a sense of peace and harmony. 

How do you see your work evolving in the future, and what legacy do you hope to leave in the world of luxury design?

To me, fashion is one of the most beautiful languages we can use to craft our own identity, express individuality, and drive connection to the heritage and folklore of different regions. I want to create narratives that use fashion and help humanity identify with each other on a more fundamental level. I want to leave something behind to inspire people to be more conscious about the way that we create. Focusing on what we want to tell, instead of what we want to sell. 

“I want to leave something behind to inspire people to be more conscious about the way that we create. Focusing on what we want to tell, instead of what we want to sell. “


How has working with the SYKY Collective influenced your artistic approach and the development of “INTERLôR VOL. 1: Awaken”?

SYKY has been the catalyst of my editorial fashion awakening. Previously, my artwork was focused purely on Afro-surrealism, and now I have merged that style and skillset to become an editorial, digital fashion designer. When I was younger, I was fearful of pursuing a career in a creative field like fashion since it was stigmatized as something gay people do, and I wanted to avoid anything that could “out me” as gay to my family.  But during my journey in web3, I was encouraged by a dear friend and collector to apply to be a part of the SYKY Collective, which was a visionary project trying to bridge the luxury fashion world with a world I was familiar with, the web3 world.  Alice Delahunt saw my vision right away, and I immediately felt like this was a community I could thrive in. Megan Kaspar and Sabine LeMarchand, two of the SYKY Collective mentors I have had the pleasure to meet, and the entire Collective, allowed me to imagine myself in this space, build a support system, show up authentically, and gain the confidence to take my artistry into the realm of fashion and editorial. 

INTERLôR VOL. 1: Awaken includes four bespoke artworks inspired by biomaterials that will be available for three days to mint, starting on December 7, 2023, at 9am (UTC -5):

  • The Seed: A custom 1:1 editorial digital couture piece available through auction, where the winning bidder will be granted an intimate meeting with GLITCHOFMIND and Alice Delahunt.
  • The Seer: A limited supply of this editorial digital couture piece will be available to all bidders of ‘The Seed.’
  • The Weaver: An editorial, digital couture piece inspired by mycelium, available as an open edition for a limited 72 hours to mint.
  • SYKY Keystone Holder’s Airdrop: A surprise fourth piece will be available exclusively to SYKY Keystone holders who mint an edition of The Weaver.
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