There is an incredibly sleek feel to the creations of designer and 3D artist Gabrielle Rosenstein, her work serving to beckon in a new era of sci-femme fantasy and queer artistry. Rosenstein’s technique is extremely unique, focusing on hyper-stylised representation of the female form, her designs are immersive in nature embodying  the cutesy yet extremely cool - born online - feel of the fashion campaigns of Marc Jacobs’ Heavn and Collina Strada.
Rosenstein’s work has garnered accolades, with write ups in essential magazines and collaborations with key celebs such as Beyonce, Charli XCX , Black Pink, and digital influencer Lil Miquela. In a time where the digital tide appears to be inching ever closer to shore, with AI and NFTs seeming to constantly play on the minds of the masses, Rosenstein offers an exciting digital approach to world building that is as slick as it is wholly benevolent.

With the launch of her collection Charm, Rosenstein uses the 3D rendered characters of Key and Lil to hawk her wares, in this case her lovely vegan bags, key charms, and charm bracelets. Key and Lil embody Rosenstein’s artistic focus on otherworldly sci-femininity, whilst her designs dance between classic y2k sensibility and something altogether more here and now, or rather a few lightyears ahead. The embrace of weirder aesthetics, on top of cutesy sketches, is Rosenstein's modus operandi, resulting in the creation of “powerful expressions of untethered imagination.” The items are whimsical, but they are also wearable, for the everyday adventure as much as a saunter up a red carpet.
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Hi Gabrielle, thank you for taking the time to talk. Firstly, can you describe the feel of your Charm collection, what should people expect?
Hi Ava, excited to be chatting with METAL! For the Charm collection, I really wanted to encapsulate an ethereal quality of sci-femme energy. I love the idea of futurizing cuteness in a way that captures the dizzy spirit of everyday life. People should expect imaginative and playful designs with an undercurrent of surreal sophistication.
You emphasise the exploration of queer identity through your digital creations, in what ways do you feel your work is a queering of the digiverse?
The queerness of my art style is achieved through the personal process of character creation. It’s a highly intimate experience, I mean you’re literally building a body from the ground up! For instance, the Charm bag silhouette is very much the exploration of a female organism to me, while the digital textile illustration incorporates a queer caress in the way the gestures form, twist, curl, and create a diary-esque space. I'm excited by how the digiverse provides an invaluable space for humans to explore their identities beyond physical constraints, leading to the ultimate individualisation of queer identity.
In what ways do you see the art of world building as being something uniquely integral to queer experience? Do you embed this energy in your own life?
It’s everything! World building is integral to the queer experience because it allows us to create safe spaces for ourselves where areas of the world may not accept us. During my adolescence in the early 2000s, society wasn’t ready to embrace queer sexuality as they do now. To cope, I developed an intricate universe that served as a sanctuary for my mental space. I would get lost creating characters, landscapes, and generating stories that reflected what I was missing from reality. The visual language of my universe developed simultaneously with me, and I would share these cultivations online (aim, myspace, tumblr, etc.) to connect with other gay kids in the world. I’m sure so many people can relate to finding their community this way and eventually embracing those identities in real life. In those ways, I still carry this energy with me today.
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How did you get your start in designing these elaborate digital renderings, and what interplay is there between your fashion work and these online universes?
I saved up to buy my first Wacom tablet in 2014, which began the transcendence of my inky figurative illustrations and gestural paintings into digital applications. If you go back to my early digital renderings, the characters are essentially built as flat illustrations with airbrushing to mimic a 3D form. It wasn't until I had my first feature with Novembre Magazine, directed by Florence Tétier, that I realised the potential of fashion editorial through the art of digital illustration. It allowed me to showcase fashion without physical limitations or requirements, such as photographers, models, and equipment. It also allowed me to design elaborate universes in which this could take place. As an early college grad, this was a creative and sustainable way for me to participate in the world of fashion. Eventually, the exposure through fashion editorials connected me to brands like Maroske Peech, and Expired Girl, who commissioned me to create digital renderings to adorn their apparel designs. Everything evolved so fluidly that it made sense to do the same with my own brand. In my digital illustrations I was constantly climbing towards a spatial awareness that I fawned after in game graphics, which led me to teach myself 3D just last year. It’s so immersive, I’m completely in love and obsessed! Now that I’m learning animation as well, my creative universe is infinite. It’s all a symbiotic cycle - inviting viewers into my digital realm to explore and then allowing them to take a piece home with them physically with this Charm collection!
Do you play videogames, or would you ever take Key and Lil into such a world, a videogame of your own design?
I always get asked this! It’s funny because I’m that girl who gets way more out of spending hours creating the avatar than actually gaming. I think because the escapism lies in the creation for me, I’m less interested in spending time playing. My partner is an intense gamer so I’m lucky to have access, and I have enjoyed playing some Bloodborne, Animal Crossing, and Stardew Valley. I would definitely take Key and Lil into such a world. Any game developers out there looking to hire a concept artist and character creator hit me up! 
Your animations for Gucci were a huge success, coming with a write up in seminal design mag It's nice that, what did you learn from that experience? Did it alter your focus and practice?
It definitely altered my practice and circles back to what I mentioned earlier. The Gucci editorial was my first stab at 2D animation and I remember how excited I was when I got the ice to clink in the glass (a quintessential expression in slice of life anime). If you really want to examine progress, compare the SS17 Gucci animations to the Best of SS21 animations on Novembre Global, you can really spot the evolution. That desire to bring my designs to life has always been there, but it wasn’t until I started experimenting with 3D art and animation that I truly felt like I was able to bring that feeling to fruition. Not only has 3D allowed me to create immersive environments that feel almost tangible, I'm able to share that in the physical world with my collection. It’s been an incredibly wild journey, and I’m excited for what’s next.
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It's seemingly the time of AI, what are your thoughts on this increasing bridge so to speak between the digital world and our everyday life?
In general, I’m very much here for it! It’s exciting to watch the evolution unfold and genuinely fun to play with. I can’t deny a bit of anxiety I feel regarding the security of creative job opportunities that may be taken over by AI, but on the other hand it ignites my creative pursuit and competitive nature to always be learning more skills. I'm optimistic that human connection will always hold value in art.
What are a few things you are loving at the minute (food, clothes, music, what have you)?
Really loving listening to Count Zero by William Gibson while hiking. Something about listening to sci-fi in nature is kind of euphoric. Also, I can’t stop singing Zero by NewJeans - somebody should stop me - or maybe they shouldn’t!
What sparked your interest in fashion, and where do you see yourself heading next in a design sense?
I’ve always loved fashion’s ability to challenge social norms, but what inspires me most is how fashion makes art tangible for everyday life. When I created all the outfits for the characters modelling the Charm collection, I thought - I need those lilac metallic star boots IRL!
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What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stop future tripping! Meet yourself where you are now with endless love.
What designers or artists would you love to collaborate with in the future?
I definitely want to collaborate with more musicians! I think I could make some sick 3D avatar content for NewJeans, Shygirl, Ice Spice, Blackpink, and Lil Nas X. If anyone has the connect, hook me up!
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