Specialising in digital fashion to working on the Pepsi rebrand

Jackson Cowden

Discover the power of digital fashion with Jackson Cowden's recent project for Pepsi.

Design rookie’s exciting Pepsi collaboration 

Despite only graduating from Billy Blue College of Design in 2022, Jackson Cowden has already made quite a splash in the Australian fashion scene. The Bachelor of Branded Fashion Design graduate has gone from strength to strength in his career, including his most recent – and most exciting – collaboration on the Pepsi rebrand.

The young designer’s unique approach to fashion uses technology to imagine clothes, leveraging virtual reality to see how his designs would look in physical spaces before bringing them to life.

Focus on digital fashion during his student days

Jackson studied at our Melbourne campus, working closely with our Fashion Director, Russell Ponting. During his time with Billy Blue, he developed a focus on digital fashion and has pushed his craft to become a leader in this emergent specialisation.

He learned skills in Clo3d, giving him the ability to design and replicate collections of clothing in a digital 3D form, a technique he uses extensively in his work. He also works with a wide range of other software programs to design and construct engineered prints, repeat prints and CADs.

More importantly, he was taught to ask the question that guides every move he makes: why?

“I was taught to develop an individual approach to each idea, question yourself, and dissect the roots of your vision — breaking it down to its simplest form of ‘What problem am I solving?’ or ‘What value am I providing?’ he said in a Vogue Australia interview. “If you can’t answer that first question, don’t try to justify it. Drop it and move towards a new idea.”

In his graduate class, he was assigned the task of creating a collection based on next year’s forecasted trends. This didn’t sit well with his “anti-establishment” approach and he instead wrote an essay to explain to his lecturer why he wasn’t following trends. She was impressed that he was standing for his beliefs and he took his path instead.  

His graduate collection comprised 24 garments that strongly reflected his iconoclastic approach, produced under the brand New World.  

The 2023 Rookie Awards 

Jackson’s technological prowess, teamed with his unique aesthetic, made him a finalist in the Rookie Awards 2023 for his New World collection. The Rookie Awards provides industry recognition to graduates and students who excel in games, animation, visual effects, immersive media, motion graphics and 3D visualisation – the perfect platform for this digital fashion artist. 

New World also won Jackson the Draft Pick judges award in the Rookie Awards and got him nominated in the 2023 Design Institute of Australia GOTYA Graduate of the Year awards

Ponting said of Jackson’s unique style: “Jackson’s work is offering new ways to see fashion and allowing new spaces in which fashion can operate. He is a young, emerging designer who is creating a very strong position for himself as a future fashion leader.” 

Pepsi Pulse collection

Jackson has since gone on to undertake myriad collaborations, but his most recent has been an exciting partnership with Pepsi to launch a new collection as part of a Pepsi rebrand project called the Pepsi Pulse collection. 

Pepsi Pulse is the first Australian AI-fashion brand collab, an idea conceived by Special PR. Jackson designed the 10-piece collection with an AI-first approach. 

Jackson Cowden | Torrens University

Pepsi Pulse Collection designed by Jackson Cowden

He took inspiration from Pepsi’s new brand look and reimagined staples such as the little black dress and the white shirt through AI. 

Using traditional methods, Jackson would spend as much as nine months on his collections, sweating over sketches, patterns and endless samples. By leaning into a cutting-edge AI-based approach to digital fashion, Jackson produced this collection in just 40 days. As well as saving time, this let Jackson minimise waste and push the boundaries of fashion traditions.

Pepsi Pulse collection

Exclusive launch event for the Pepsi Pulse Collection

Vandita Pandey, chief marketing officer ANZ at PepsiCo Australia, said, “Following on from hugely successful global launches in other markets, we wanted our local launch to feel relevant to our culturally thirsty, next-generation drinkers in Australia.  

“Pepsi supports the next generation of creators and designers. With our new visual identity being bold, unapologetic, modern, and iconic we wanted to partner with a young designer who could put a unique take on our refresh. It was a privilege to be able to support Jackson to launch his first runway show.” 

Jackson added, “It’s been incredibly significant for me to partner with Pepsi at this point in my career, a partnership born of our shared values around challenging the status quo, pushing the unconventional and searching for new and bold ways of doing things. 

Pepsi Pulse launch

Branded Fashion Design alumnus, Jackson Cowden

“Increasingly in the near future fashion designers will be drawn towards digital fashion design, with preconceived rules in creative fields abandoned. Pepsi is known for keeping its finger on the culture pulse, and the innovative and creative way this collection has come to life further proves this.”

Check our Branded Fashion Design Courses to learn more
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