1-A collaboration between scientist and textiles designer. Write case study – reflecting how a designer has exploited science and technology to enhance their work.
2-A fashion designer using high-tech materials – Write case study – reflecting how a designer has exploited science and technology to enhance their work.
3-Include thoughts about the implications of textile designers working as part of a team with technologists/scientist etc.
My research had several false starts as I couldn’t find the type of information I wanted to read and so much of it was so overly scientific that I easily became baffled. Happily I discovered Nobel Textiles and recognised some names which opened up my investigation. Nobel Textiles was a fascinating 2 year long project funding by the Medical Research Council in 2008 with the purpose of design explaining science (rather than showing similarities or a difference). It consisted of 5 collaborations between fashion and/or textiles designers from Central Saint Martin’s College teamed with Science Nobel Laureates. The brief for the Designers was to understand the scientists work and through the medium of textiles to communicate the scientists’ achievements.
The pairings were carefully considered but the one that spoke to me the most was between Philippa Brock and Aaron Klug (Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1982). Phillippa, being a 3D woven textiles specialist, and Aaron Klug, a pioneer in the field of molecular structure. I was drawn to the collaboration for many reasons but the interplay between technology, science and design kept coming up which appealed to me. Philippa (who previously qualified as nurse, thus having a medical connection) was inspired by and responded to Klug’s discovery of 3D structures of viruses using 2D information ( he created 3D models using 2D glass x-ray plates that were stacked together each showing the molecular structure at a different angle) perfectly as it lends itself to her style of working beautifully. The collaboration resulted in a collection of work called “Self Assembly” a word that Klug himself had used to describe his own work in his discovery.
Photosource – http://www.bbc.co.uk
She created an experimental collection of large scale woven Jacquards that explored methods of transforming 2D weaves into 3D fabrics soon after they left the loom by means of water or using light steam. The loom used was a CAD/CAM industrial power loom for woven jacquard technology, which translates 2D flat pattern into 3D fabric, a reference to 2D and 3D starting point and clear indication of technology playing a part in the collaboration.
Kiki Von Glasgow created a documentary on the Nobel Textile collaborations which can be viewed from the Nobel Textiles website. However there is a link below telling part of the story when Philippa Brock met Aaron Klug. I find the film very enlightening and there’s a very endearing moment when Klug learns about a silk worm and reflects on a pet silk worm he had as a child.
Q – How have they exploited technology to enhance their work ?
Philippa is a Fellow at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, University of The Arts and was educated at Goldsmiths’ College and The Royal College of Art.
She is known for her 3D innovative designs and she continues to research the structural possibilities for creative textiles by using the CAD/CAM woven jacquard loom taking full advantage the technologies available to her. She is currently exploring the field of smart textiles investigating the design and production of conductive fabrics and integrating woven circuits, woven switches, and sensors, which can be used in conjunction with electronic components.
This November ( 2012) she has exhibited at the Trames Gallery at The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles with an exhibition titled ’2D – 3D’ showcasing the ‘Self Fold’ series and her new ‘X- Form’ body of work. Both highlight her research into ‘on loom’ finishing techniques which, through the use of yarn properties and layered weave structure results in exciting combinations. ‘X-Form’ integrates smart yarns in the weft that are either phosphorescent or fluorescent resulting in works that take on different appearances in both daylight and in UV light. These innovative yarns are becoming available to us all through the advances of technology.
She is also investigating the construction of woven substrates for Laser Cutting and Etching – she is very much a designer with her finger on the pulse of textiles technology!
2 – A fashion designer using high-tech materials.
London based UK Fashion Designer, Hussein Chalayan gradutated from Central St Martins in 1993 and has twice been awarded Designer of the Year (1999 and 2000) for his innovative and creative approach to fashion. A 2009 internet fashion article (http://www.impactlab.net/2009/04/12/designer-hussein-chalayan-wearable-portable-architecture/) revealed that Chalayan’s background is not as an obvious path as you might expect for a fashion designer as he is described as a “tech geek” and has clearly used his extensive knowledge and interest in technology in his designs by integrating technological components with fashion.
His 2007 Autumn Winter collection caused ripples within the fashion industry. The collection “Airborne” was designed around the four seasons and introduced the technology of including LED’s into clothes design. Included in the collection for Winter was a hat with red LED’s and a dress designed in a similar way with 200 moving lasers to so show off a light display. It has been said that the red glow was intended to emit a warm energy to combat against the negative feelings of the harsh winter climate. The highlight of the collection and one that has gained much publicity was the video dress. Simply designed but an incredibly effective, a dress that combined high quality multi-faceted Swarovski crystals to reflect the flickering white light of 15,000 LED’s which were embedded into the underneath fabric. The white light weight chiffon over dress diffused the light gently. There were 2 other dresses designed in a similar way one of which depicted the hopes of spring with a time lapsed looping film of an opening and closing rose bud. The flow and drape of the chiffon top dress with the moving images and lights beneath was described as “mesmerizing” in its effect as it appeared like a TV screen. Chalayan was highly praised for his collection and judges commented “The Airborne collection proves fashion can also be about research and innovation by looking to the future rather than the past”
Video link for video dress http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_Tm_w5aODE
Video link for Reading red laser dress http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTisE2f5d0o
I feel that it will be only a matter of time before such an idea is transferred to the high street and we too may be wearing clothes with perhaps images uploaded from our smart phones.
Photosource – coufme.com
Photosource – coufme.com
Photosource – coufme.com
Q – How have they exploited technology to enhance their work ?
Hussein Chayalan, clearly has a passion and interest for modern technology integrated within fashion. In addition to his LED dress, his Laser dress cleverly combines the technology of small pivoting lasers with Swarovski multi-faceted crystals to give a dramatic light display on the darkened catwalk. Other creations that were showcased on the catwalk that demonstrate his intrigue and capabilities with technology are the designs that incorporate animatronics allowing the smallest of movements to happen effortlessly. The dresses physically changed shape on the catwalk, some with very small subtle movements, with zips closing, fabric bunching together, and hemlines rising or falling. All these effects were created by utilizing micro-controllers, micro-switches, monofilament wires fed through tubes, pencil thin motors and computer programming.
Video Link for hem dropping http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frjT_A-MJsc
Video Link for hem rising http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OQGKn7dh7o
Video link for aircraft dress http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7K9jFYve9Y
In 2009, an exhibition at The Design Museum titled “From fashion and Back” exhibited designs and the creative and technological process behind the creations that spanned his then 15 year career within the industry and how successfully and innovatively he fuses technology with fashion.
Photosource – http://ajurettemagablog.blogspot.co.uk
One of the 37 creations was a dress made from aircraft materials. Chalayan had designed and engineered a remote-controlled dress made from aviation-strength fibreglass, with panels that gracefully lifted up, like aircraft wings to reveal gathered tulle petticoats beneath.
Photosource – http://makezine.com/craft
3 – THE IMPLICATIONS
What are the possible implications for textiles designers to work as part of a team?
So what are the implications when professionals from differing industries combine forces? In general textiles terms the answer is very simple as illustrated by the quote below from the Craft Council.
“New technologies, new economies” – with combined knowledge and expertise there is advancement in technologies resulting in fresh growth within the economy.
The Craft Council also state that;-
“Collaboration accelerates innovation: by working together, people with different but complementary expertise can challenge conventional thinking and find unexpected new directions in their work”
When textile designers, and not excluding other creative professionals, work collaboratively with scientists and technologists it can result in many benefits, some capable of leading to different thinking processes and innovations through exchanged knowledge that might not ever have come into existence otherwise.
The craft council has outlined this well in a document titled “Crafting Capital” and believes there is a 3 part model and using this as a basis I consider the following to be true.
By working together new and creative ideas are generated. Creatives are flexible in their thinking and more willing to take risks in their quest to find something new to satisfy their internal drive to create. A scientific approach is more lateral, logical and investigates more methodically. Therefore the 2 methods of working complement each other sparking new thought patterns.
It is generally considered that those that are creative are connected with and understand the needs in a design context of society and as such are able to bridge the gap between the end user and that of the scientific worlds.
Creative people have many skills to support the scientific work. Possessing sound visualisation skills, observational and drawing skills alongside and actual physical craft skills they can help formulate ideas and turn them from an idea into reality.
Speaking in more “high street terms” there have been examples of wearable technology combining science with fashion already. One that took the world by storm was Global Hypercolour t shirts in 1991 which contained thermochromic (temperature sensitive) properties. It seemed like everyone was wearing them at one point. The fashion concept was simple but scientific as it relied on the combination of 2 colours, the colour of the dyed fabric which remained constant and the colour of the thermochromic dye (leuco dye) which was enclosed in microcapsules of liquid sealed in a transparent shell, bound to the fibers of the fabric.
Photosource – http://r-yonemura.jp
As research continues new ideas are constantly being explored and developed and these will eventually change the way we dress. One designer, for example, Manel Torres has been exploring the possibility of spray on clothing and has even developed the idea to the pro-type stage. Another designer/researcher, Jenny Tillotson at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design has been developing a “smart” second skin exploring the applications of sensory, aroma and medical technology within textiles and fashion. Some of her work includes clothes and jewellery that release aromatherpy scents such as Menthol with the view it may help Asthma attacks. Both of these designers are working closely with scientists to further their textiles investigations.
As textiles research continues it is clear that science can provide the necessary technologies for the future of clothing making it more efficient, warmer, cooler as well as having more exciting qualities.The collaboration, or team effort, therefore offers a natural working partnership to draw from each other’s skills and knowledge allowing each industry to build on their own research and that of others, and to have a good exchange of ideas and information to develop such textiles.
Website research links and other research points;-
For Philippa Brock
for Hussein Chalayan
Video – Youtube – various Hussein Chalayan clips.
Book – From Fashion and Back– Hussein Chalayan ISBN978-4-566-10386-1
Book – Textile Futures fashion design and technology – Bradley Quinn
Internet fashion show articles as referenced below.
http://www.trendhunter.com – introduction on dress that got me interested
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercolor – background info on hyper-colour