Fashion is the spirit of the time – it reflects the change, novelty and the context of time and place. Now, the world and fashion industry move faster and faster every day, thanks to the ongoing digital revolution, mass production, and overzealous fashion seasons!
The 620.1-billion dollar eCommerce fashion business isn’t the only automation dominating the fashion world. Below is a list of hybrids where technology meets fashion, infiltrating traditional haute couture and changing the design landscape with their virtual escapes and immersive interaction technology.
1. The Skeleton, Iris Van Herpen
The Dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen, known for fusing haute couture with technology, is one of the pioneers of inculcating 3d printing into fashion. Now stored at THE MET, the ‘skeleton’ dress that appeared in the Fall 2011 “Capriole” collection was her first entirely printed dress in collaboration with architect Isaïe Bloch, the technological marvel that was crowned among the top 50 inventions of 2011. This brittle strapless dress defined the eccentricity of the designer who constantly pushes the boundaries of the unexplored realms of fashion and brings it to life with technology.
2. The Enemy, Studio XO
Nancy Tilbury of ‘Studio XO’ commands over the transmogrification of science fiction to science facts as technology meets fashion. The garments produced by the north London studio are based on strong narratives and zeitgeists of our rapidly changing landscapes. Created for the icon of fashion, Lady Gaga, the ” Enemy” dress is an intricately engineered design that is dressed as fashion.
3. Oscillation dress, ThreeASFOUR
Titled ‘Oscillation’, this dress was a centerpiece for the New York Fashion house ‘threeASFOUR’ in the collection “Quantum Vibrations,” drawing inspiration from source energies and universal vibration. The highly complex multi-colored, and layered dress comprises 30 individual pieces stitched together via the construction of 270 unique design files created in association with Travis Fitch.
4. Rose Petal dress, Zac Posen
The bespoke designer, Zac Posen, in collaboration with Protolabs’ facility in North Carolina, produced a gown featuring 21 unique overlapping petals, which took around 1,100 hours to finish. Each petal is estimated to be worth around $3,000. Worn by British model Jourdan Dunn to the MET Gala 2019, the dress is 3d molded in titanium as per Dunn’s body and weighs nearly 14 kilograms.
5. Setae Jacket, Julia Körner
Academy Award winner for Best Costume Design for her collaboration on the 2018 film Black Panther, Julia Körner is a designer working at the convergence of architecture, product, and fashion design. The Setae jacket is designed and 3d printed by Stratasys as a part of their Chro-Morpho collection, to mimic the hair-like structure on the wing of the Madagascan sunset butterfly. The Setae – a stiff structure resembling hair, moves with the wearer to create an enigmatic visual effect.
1. BioCouture, Suzanne Lee
Developed using bacteria Acetobacter, Suzanne Lee’s vision for combining nature and fashion is hauntingly beautiful. This prokaryote-grown garment is an environmentally sustainable product for The BioCouture Research Project, which can be easily molded and sewn and colored using a vegetable dye. Lee’s work provokes larger discussions on what is environmentally sustainable and how fashion can incorporate it.
2. Seaweed Girl, Jasmine Linington
Describing herself as a seaweed explorer, Jasmine Linington, is a textile artist from the Scottish shores who developed the Seaweed Girl clothing line, using seaweed and wood in a bid to address the devastating environmental impacts of the fashion industry. The designer used the by-products of the seaweed harvesting process and constructed textiles presenting the versatility of seaweed as a material for couture garments.
3. Skin II, Rosie Broadhead
Broadhead, in collaboration with microbiologist Christopher Callewaert, developed integrated live bacteria in the garment that can lessen body odor, stimulate cell renewal, and promote the skin’s immune system, by strategically installing probiotics in the garments that get animated when contacted with sweat.
4. Biogarmentry, Roya Aghighi
The first non-woven living and photosynthetic textile created by Aghihi transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen through algae and bio fabricated textiles. To make the fabric, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a type of single-cell green algae, is spun together with nano polymers and is activated by exposure to sunlight, and provides a high-grade environment for the wearer and the surroundings and regulates carbon emissions, thus providing tangible attachments to consumers towards sustainability.
5. Decomposition of Materiality, Scarlett Yang
The biomaterial dress by Yang is a glass-like garment crafted from algae extract and silk cocoon protein that combines bio-design, digital fabrication, 3D-generative simulation and fashion design. The project seeks the natural decaying process as the sensitive reactive dress fully biodegrades in water within 24 hours and changes shape in response to different humidity and temperature levels, twisting and creasing as these conditions increase.
Virtual fashion films exploded from their niche to mainstream in the wake of the pandemic as the fashion houses embraced new ways to make fashion imagery. Burberry unveiled its 2020 summer monogram collection under creative director Riccardo Tisci and ShowStudio‘s Image maker, Nick Knight, where the digital avatar of Kendall Jenner was decked head to toe in Peter Saville-designed Burberry monogram in a virtual dystopian Burberry universe.
2. The Fabricant
The Fabricant founders Kerry Murphy and Amber Slooten created a new fashion narrative for the 21st century where they depict fantasy landscapes and provide escapism to the digital generation with their parallel real-world and online identities. In 2019, the first digital fashion house made history by auctioning their ‘Iridescence’ dress for $9,500.
Penned as one the best fashion films of 2020 by the i-D magazine, Mugler was a fantasy piece under the direction of Florian Joahn. Casey Cadwallader’s hyper sexy and sinuous vision for Mugler was exemplified by a 3d render of the house’s favorite muse and supermodel Bella Hadid as a Pegasus. The sci-fi video of the brand hit every checkbox for the 2020 fashion industry from body positivity and inclusivity to sustainability and picturesque virtual escapes.
4. Satore Studios
Tupac Martir, founder and creative director of Satore Studio, envisions the new forms of expression through digitized hybrids of real and rendered fashion. The immersive content creation and dynamic production of virtual fashion impact the consumer experiences and help us gradually move towards the already here ‘Future’.
1. Ying Gao
Ying Gao, the Montreal-based designer, devised a pair of robotic dresses that respond to their immediate environment by rippling, expanding, and contracting. The reactive garment makes use of light and color sensors, silicone, lightweight organza fabric, and tiny cameras linked to the raspberry PI computer that gather information about their surroundings and then activate a series of actuators and magnets interlaced with silicone that control the movements of the dress.
The Swedish retailer giant Carlings released The Last Statement T-shirt, developed by the agency Virtue, which seems blank to the naked eye but turns animated when viewed through the phone, accessible easily through all social media platforms. The graphics are superimposed over the T-shirt and are constantly updated to send voiceless impactful messages to the online generation.
3. Richard Nicoll
Made from Lumigram Optic fiber, Richard Nicoll presented his collection at London fashion week in collaboration with Studio XO and Disney. Named the ‘Tinker Bell glow’, the illuminated fluid garment is a stepping stone in wearable tech. Nicoll’s dress marks a turning point where technology meets fashion and is now intelligent enough to be planted in contemporary garments.