Making the relationship between human beings and technology a unique opportunity, Dmitry Kornilov decided to undertake his most personal project to date, A brand with which, started from creative ideas that allow us to humanise digital resources and bring them closer to society taking advantage of the impressive development in terms of technological possibilities, ended up giving life to the first Ukrainian digital blogger, Astra Starr. In his studio, he works to create experiences that add value and generate interest from target customers. He now collaborates with the fashion brand Finch on a semi-digital clothing collection. “Our brands have a good match in terms of visual aesthetics,” he explains.
Many questions arise when we talk about augmented reality, virtual avatars or digital fashion shows. And it is precisely for this reason that those professionals who are dedicated to this parallel universe (increasingly connected to the human world) must take the floor, translating difficult concepts into common terms that we can all understand. Dmitry Kornilov succeeds, and his speech is perfectly understandable despite the technical words and complex processes that his work entails. And his statements, closely linked to the near future, are very strong. “We believe that nowadays clothing should be practical in real life and impressive in the feed, where we see each other the most - in social media,” he says.

He also acknowledges that the differences between digital bloggers and flesh-and-blood influencers are much less significant than we think. “Real influencers don’t post real-life content to social media. At the same time, digital influencers are more versatile in terms of content design and storytelling”. He now shares the conclusions he has drawn from and the clients he has worked with -among which we find Pepsi and Danone-, making us think about our relationship with augmented reality and digitisation.
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Conceived as a team of creators, artists, and engineers, brings together skills such as 3D design, development of online and offline immersive solutions, or video production. But what exactly does this interdisciplinary study consist of?
To answer this question we need to step back and understand what our product is about. We create Augmented Reality communication products that help businesses to connect with their audiences. We start with creative ideas and digital strategy. With the help of creative ideas, we connect with people psychologically. A digital strategy helps to achieve business metrics. Technical parts of the project are important but secondary. In terms of the tech stack, we use Spark AR, Lens Studio, TikTok effect creator, Blender, 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Principle, After Effects, Marvelous Designer, iClone, Unity, Unreal, and JavaScript.
Dmitry, you are the CEO and co-founder of the studio, as well as a digital strategist. How and when did you build
I started to work with Augmented Reality in 2018, I fell in love with technology and especially with the human-centric part of it. I understood that AR gives people the power to reimagine how they look, be creative, and more importantly - attract attention. I believed and still believe that attention is the most important currency. That’s why when I heard that Instagram is launching its own AR platform, I understood that it’s going to be huge. Also, I understood that brands will be able to benefit by creating custom AR experiences for their audiences. In June 2019, I met with one of the first Instagram filter creators in Ukraine, Yegor Kumachov, and we decided to work together under brand: I create ideas for Instagram filters and will offer them to clients, while he handles development. After a couple of months, we created a solid portfolio and started to work with international brands like Pepsi, Danone and Visa. After this point, we started our scaling, with me being responsible for the business part of and Yegor - for technical. After a while, we started adding new products - semi-digital and digital clothing, virtual avatars, educational courses, and charity projects.
Was it your lifelong dream or did it respond to some specific phenomenon or event?
The studio was created because of an accidental meeting with Yegor Kumachov. He visited one of my lectures about Augmented Reality and we decided to give it a try because of our interest in the technology and intuition that it could work as a business.
“Augmented Reality campaigns for global brands and good purposes,” we read in your Instagram bio, which has become an essential portfolio when it comes to showing projects for initiatives like yours. What is augmented reality and how do you take advantage of it?
To put it simply, Augmented Reality is a technology that adds virtual visual content to real-world environments including peoples’ faces or bodies. We can take various emotional or rational advantages from it including creative content production for social media, object visualisation, try on clothes, navigation improvement, interactive educational experience creation, and of course, having a lot of fun.
And the creation of Instagram filters is precisely one of your star services. From futuristic effects to artistic expressions that take us to surreal universes. How is the creative process of these filters? Which is the most important phase?
The most important phases are understanding client needs and understanding the interest of clients’ target audiences at the moment they interact with our filter. This stage is vital to create products that bring value to people and the brand. After this stage, we create a filter idea and visualisation as an image. If it works for the client, we start development. During the development process, we show intermediate versions of the filter with a test link. This gives them the opportunity to test it in live mode. We offer three rounds of feedback. After the project is done our work isn’t over. We help the client upload the effect and launch it on all channels. Finally, in the end, we provide the client with campaign analytics.
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Astra Starr, the first digital blogger in Ukraine, was born in your studio. What are the main characteristics of an influencer created in the digital universe and how is their interaction with the public and brands managed?
Digital influencers are a lot more similar to real influencers than we think. Mostly because nowadays real influencers don’t post real-life content to social media. At the same time, digital influencers are more versatile in terms of content design and storytelling. That is why their content can be more engaging.
We have already seen Astra wearing Finch's Spring Summer 2020 collection, with whom we spoke a few months ago and you are now collaborating on a new collection in which seven international artists have participated. What led you to decide to join forces in this collection?
Our brands have a good match in terms of visual aesthetics. Also, we have a good match within the production process.
Well known for their multidisciplinary collaborations and their interest in new technologies, Finch largely shares your work philosophy defined by continuous experimentation, digital resources and synergies, right?
Yes, I think that’s exactly what I meant to say.
This new proposal consists of a collection of semi-digital clothing which artists, muralists and designers have joined. What is semi-digital clothing and how can the end customer make use of it?
Semi-digital clothing is physical clothing with a layer of augmented reality design that is activated while creating content. Simply said, it’s clothing designed for content creation.
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T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts are the three garments included in the new collection, in which colourful prints make an appearance. Why have you opted for urban and comfortable clothes?
Because we believe that comfort is the new black or even, comfort is a new luxury. On the other hand, we added lots of designs to the digital part of each garment to improve how it looks on content. We believe that nowadays clothing should be practical in real life and impressive in the feed, where we see each other the most - in social media. To sum up, I’m sure that all design parts of fashion will move to the digital layer, while physical form will work for real-world survival purposes.
Ines Alpha, one of the most important 3D makeup creators in the world, has taken part in the collaborative project, in which we also find names such as the muralist Waone Interesni Kazki and the designer Snezhana Chernetskaya. What were the criteria when selecting and reaching out to these artists? Is AR clothing the future wardrobe?
The main criteria was the vision. We wanted to connect not different styles, but different perspectives. This way we developed clothing for people with different perceptions of our world - from cyber beauty to surrealism. I’m sure, that in the nearest future our experiences with clothing will be similar to the gaming world. We will have some physical base and will augment and upgrade it with modes, artifacts, boosters within the digital layer. And all these digital add-ons will be a part of a new fashion and something that we will buy to be different and express ourselves. So, our AR clothing is definitely the first step in direction of the future wardrobe.
And what can you tell us about your next projects?
Our next projects will be focused on the development of our semi-digital and digital clothing for global brands, we have already signed four contracts and I’m pretty sure that it’s just the beginning. Regarding Instagram filters, we will focus on creating cases for immersive offline experiences, so if you guys want to launch an Augmented Reality exhibition or fashion show, text me.
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