Elizabeth von Guttman continues a trailblazing path as co-founder at ALTAVA Group, a leading metaverse group shaping a new era of innovation that merges fashion and technology.
Adding a fashion-forward perspective, she brings her honed eye, pioneering spirit, and content experience gleaned from previous editorial roles.
In February’s Bold Moves, the creative visionary shares how she steered her career in fash-tech and what to expect from ALTAVA’s newest AI-powered creation platform.
What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
Mornings are always quite hectic! I start my day with a few stretches with Yoga365, it only takes a few minutes but makes all the difference. Coffee is a must, then it’s a race against the clock to get the kids off to school!
Can you talk us through your career journey?
I started my career in fashion as it’s a true passion of mine. I worked on the entertainment side connecting brands to talent, then I focused on the sustainability topic trying to encourage brands to be more responsible through innovation. The project was called Ever Manifesto. I then launched my own magazine over 10 years ago focusing on fashion called System Magazine. Over the past few years, I got intrigued by all the possibilities of the Web3 world which brought me to ALTAVA!
What prompted this move in starting ALTAVA and how has it been received?
We have witnessed such massive changes in these past years, from the rise of social media to gaming. People are consuming differently, as well as communicating differently. I noticed there was a décalage (gap) between what was going on in the tech world and the fashion industry. So, when I met Andy Ku, my co-founder who comes from a gaming background, a whole new world opened up.
Tell us about the concept and how do you approach things differently?
ALTAVA started life as a fashion-tech focusing on virtual try-ons and avatar systems. The company evolved into a luxury fashion metaverse called WOY (Worlds of You). Earlier in 2023, we took our collective experience in luxury fashion, technology, Web3 and created ALTAVA Boutique, our AI virtual item creation platform. We realized that despite the explosive growth in Generative AI, the outputs are still not usable or even practical for virtual worlds. This is why we developed ALTAVA Boutique. It’s very fashion focused and the outputs will be a lot more usable for designers to modify for various virtual worlds.
How did your previous experiences in fashion support your current role?
The tech and fashion worlds are very different. This is why my experience in the fashion industry supported me in bridging both worlds together. The tech world is very fast paced compared to the fashion industry which is all about the details and storytelling. When both worlds collide, it can create some very exciting projects.
How does your role impact innovation and tech at ALTAVA?
ALTAVA is already a very capable company when it comes to technology. What I brought to the table is the perspective of luxury fashion brands. How they see the world, especially on the digital side of things. We always say that ALTAVA is fashion meets tech and that is really personified by my co-founder and I. I bring the fashion side for projects and Andy stands up for the tech side in projects.
“The tech world is predominantly male, but in the past few years, we have seen amazing women creators and entrepreneurs with solid ambitions and works.”
As a female in the tech industry, are there any difficulties you’ve faced?
The tech world is predominantly male, but in the past few years, we have seen amazing women creators and entrepreneurs with solid ambitions and works. This also makes the feminine touch well needed in the tech world. I hope there will be more women-led projects and women leaders in the tech industry so that inequalities are not the topic anymore.
You’ve created revolutionary projects for top brands like Prada, Fendi, and LVMH. How do you identify projects with long-term value add?
It’s about connecting with the younger and new consumers on a global scale, for instance by creating exciting web3 environments, so these new consumers for the future generations can relate to the brand from now on. With ALTAVA, I also help to identify the new technologies that will help the brands to innovate and bring long-term value.
ALTAVA Boutique is a highly-anticipated concept – do tell us more about it?
ALTAVA Boutique will invite luxury fashion brands to the platforms of tomorrow, especially for creators by generating a seamless digital experience across virtual worlds and gaming. As part of the Boutique, we are developing an ALTAVA Creator Community with leading and emerging 3D designers, who will shape the future of fashion and create a new platform for them to express themselves.
AI, AR, and Digital IDs: what is their future, and do you think these technologies could be further scaled and potentially change the fashion and retail landscape?
AI, AR, and Digital IDs will definitely keep developing and become a native way to interact with the world and have the potential to grow if used wisely. At ALTAVA, we are evolving these technologies for the next generation of our products and our forward-thinking partners. For example, while augmented reality has been around for a few years now, we have created a groundbreaking beauty filter with Ines Alpha, a leading digital 3D artist, for the Clarins Precious project. These technologies will help the new generation of designers to create fun and exciting collections, building interactive and inclusive fashion for end-consumers.
How can the fashion industry future-proof their brands through tech?
One of the biggest challenges facing the fashion industry, especially on the luxury side of the scale, is indeed counterfeit goods. Counterfeit is estimated to be a between $3-$4.2 trillion USD industry according to several pieces of industry research. I believe that technology like blockchain and its immutable nature can really address this issue. It hurts everyone including consumers. The market for secondhand luxury goods is also very big and vibrant. The biggest fear for most consumers is the authenticity of the merchandise that they purchase. While there’s no silver bullet, authentication of each good using DLT (distributed ledger technology) where you can continuously track the transaction with each individual owner of a good can be very helpful and a credible deterrence.
What else does the future hold for ALTAVA and what excites you about it?
We obviously are very excited about ALTAVA Boutique, our AI virtual item creation platform. We had a very good Close Alpha test in late December 2023 and plan to open it up to a broader audience in Q1 of 2024 as a CBT (Close Beta Test) and we look forward to feedback from fashion designers and users. As you know, AI becomes smarter with increased usage. So, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how Maker AI, the AI engine behind ALTAVA Boutique, will grow and become smarter as more people use it.
This is The Tech Issue – what technology has been a game-changer in your life and how so?
One technology that has been a game changer is 3D, especially for fashion design. For instance, for photoshoots, instead of having several days with ten different models and fifty looks that are shot by multiple departments, 3D rendering, and digitalisation of assets can lower the number of looks being transported and resources engaged with ultimately and importantly lowering the carbon footprint, which is another key topic of sustainability in the fashion industry.
February’s – The Tech Issue with Christiana Maxion – Download Now
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