Based between Los Angeles and Paris, Hugo Comte is a young and ever-rising fashion photographer whose vision extends beyond a static image and into the metaverse. In the span of a few months, he has debuted several projects that bridge physical and digital. His first solo show, Testament, ran through the month of February at Galerie Hussenot and featured 15 large-scale, narrative images in collaboration with stylist Ibrahim Kamara. Concurrently, Comte debuted Nikita World, which explores the new frontier of virtual space and includes $NIKITA, a “creator coin” developed with social token platform, PooLS. Within this token-gated space, he will also expand into exclusive-access experiences and talks in addition to building a virtual museum to showcase NFTs – his own alongside other artists. There is also Dear Nikita, the clothing line conceived with Lois Saunders, the British designer behind the label 1xblue. “The interesting part about doing so many things is that it will be interesting to see which one peaks the most,” he said, teasing that a short film is also underway.
To what extent do you think fashion is about proposing or selling dreams?
Sometimes when we dedicate and lot of time and energy to making an image, you have people saying, “We’re not saving lives.” And we’re not saving lives in the way a doctor saves lives, but what is that person without fantasy, without pleasure, without desire, without imagination… Fashion has the potential for people to express themselves and relate to each other and I think expressing ourselves and building community are two of the most powerful things we have on earth.
How might this have a positive effect on people?
It’s basically the most important question. I think that we have the possibility to teach people how to embrace their freedom and to understand that we are not locked into a condition. That if we want to change every day, we can change every day… It’s just about the mindset. There is nothing to do with materiality.
What is one trend or item of clothing that will define the coming year?
I can imagine something going very sexual in a way. For me, sexuality is what defines an individual by their desires. Our sexuality is one of the most absolute things that defines who we are, and what we do all comes back to this. I have a feeling in the next couple of years, this will become obvious and expressed and open – and I hope and wish and want it to be something super wild.
You mention how you would like to see people expressing their mindset more openly. How does this translate to fashion?
I have a feeling we choose to get dressed every day because we want to express an attitude, which is not necessarily the way you look but more your mindset and way you live life. I think fashion is going to more functional than aesthetic… When it is functional serving a mindset, then it becomes the most essential thing.
Are you a dreamer?
Yes. Well, no, maybe I’m not a dreamer. I think ‘dreamer’ can have a negative sense because it can be perceived to be just about dreaming. I am trying to be about presence-making. And through this, I translate dreams into reality.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.