Thursday, 24 April 2014

Kicking Back

A recent trip to Copenhagen helped me come clean about how much I love their laid back style. Two words: length and volume. Regardless of who did it first, this Scandinavian look - as I'm going to call it (don't mention normcore) - is everywhere at the moment. I even think I saw Pernille Teisbaek in a long trench, roll up jeans and some bright white trainers standing around the corner from Nyhavn: amazing. Such a fresh vibe, which is perfect for between-season dressing. One of my favourite representations of this trend is via the editorial below. I found an amazing pair of wide-legged, black Jaeger pants in a chairty shop the other day - and needless to say, I'll be digging out my long old trench in a desperate attempt to look this cool.

L’officiel Paris April 2014
Photographer: Daniel Thomas Smith
Model: Jordan Van Der Vyver

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Saatchi & Google+

I took a trip uptown last week to have a look at what gif. files look like on gallery walls (rather than on a monitor). Needless to say, they look bigger. And brighter. I'm really not sure whether they look better - but then again, art doesn't always look it's best out of context, does it?

The Saatchi Gallery seem to have dressed up an expensive marketing campaign as a progressive art exhibition. The Motion Photography Prize, in association with Google+ and Saatchi Art, is a global, open entry competition celebrating this new medium. This celebration comes alongside a new gif making app from Google+, and all around the opening space were reminders. An impressive line-up of judges were called (Baz Luhrmann, Shezad Dawood, Tracey Emin and Cindy Sherman) to pick a winner - but the majority of guests at the opening were more interested by the free booze. I mean, everyone at art openings is interested in free booze - but this art opening was especially booze-focused. 

The evening was absolutely packed and there was definitely an excitement in the air - perhaps it was because there's something that feels really exciting about welcoming a new art medium into public consciousness. The works themselves didn't seem particularly exciting, but the snippets of overheard conversation among guests certainly were. The winner of the prize, Christina Rinaldi, was shaking with excitement when I chatted to her, however. SHe seemed quite bemused by the whole situation, and it was a pleasure to congratulate her.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Interview: Massimo Nicosia

As previously mentioned, I got the opportunity to interview the creative director at Pringle of Scotland for 3D Printshow.
Head over to the 3D Printshow website to have a look (and a read of all my other stories), or alternatively, read on:
Whilst we’re all excited about 3D print technology, it’s clear that the hype won’t last forever. Once the excitement has gone, actually integrating the right printed elements produced in the right materials will continue to be the most essential aspect of the industry – and with this in mind, a few forward thinking individuals have begun acquainting themselves with the exciting results of 3D printing.
A fantastic example of this can be found on the pages of glossy fashion magazines no less. Pringle of Scotland is a brand with heritage at its heart, and since the 1800’s, the knitwear specialists have been producing some of the most classic, and in some cases, the most traditional casual wear, originating in the Scottish Borders. Progressing slowly towards leisure and sportswear a century later, Pringle of Scotland remain known by most for their cricket and golfing clothing. However, the brand also moved into the slightly more prestigious arena of high-end fashion – which is where they remain today.

For their Autumn / Winter 2014 collection, Pringle of Scotland were one of the first key commercial players in the fashion industry to implement 3D printed elements into their textiles. Not only is this juxtaposition of old and new so exciting, but it’s amazing to see 3D printing being viewed outside the context of the technology, and onto the runway. What we love the most about this development is that the clothes – which contain 3D printed textile embellishments – have been incredibly well received for what they are, and not simply for the fact that parts of them have been 3D printed. This step forward – seeing 3D printing being used in ‘the real world’ – is a huge development for the technology. We’re starting to move away from the hype and towards intelligent usage and design, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

3D Printshow were thrilled to have the opportunity to exclusively interview Pringle of Scotland’s creative director Massimo Nicosia about the brand’s decision to experiment with 3D print technology. The already classic marrying together of a hand-knit Scottish cable stitch with high-tech 3D printed parts is an incredibly bold combination of media. We wanted to know what the development meant from a creative angle, rather than a technological one, so we asked Nicosia a few questions about the stunning collection:

How has your interest in innovative material and design led you to 3D printing?
I have always been intrigued by investigating new medias and technologies.  Typically 3d printing has been experimented with for commercial prototyping and architecture modelling and in fashion, in a very sculptural / abstract way.  For Pringle, I wanted to explore a move away from the costume approach of such technology by making  real and wearable pieces.
What was the basic theme of your most recent collection, and how did the inclusion of 3D printing develop it?
My first idea for this collection was to juxtapose two opposites, by marrying ultra-flat 2d knitwear with highly textural 3d elements.  This collection experimented with textiles and new structures and the key exploration was fading the lines between different medias; knitwear and wovens, classic embroidery and 3d printing, and classic stitches and 3d printing modular repeats.

How would you describe the experience of collaborating with an established architect (Richard Beckett) on A/W14? Did you enjoy working in this interdisciplinary way?
Being a former architect myself, it wasn’t hard to understand Richard’s mindset and methods.  It was a great interdisciplinary synergy and we complimented each other’s know-how.  Pringle is always striving to innovate knitwear techniques and this was a great opportunity to move the innovation forwards.
Should the inclusion of 3D printing determine a garment /collection’s aesthetic, or does this kind of tech simply embellish it?
I used 3d printing as a new tool; as an alternative to traditional techniques in order to achieve what I envisioned for the collection.  I do not think that 3d printing can generate an aesthetic by itself, but it will surely change the way we design.  It will move us towards an “all the way around” approach rather than flat, front and back.
I don’t like considering 3d printing just as a frill or embellishment.  In my case, I was trying to blur the lines between 3d printing and traditional medias applied to fashion, i.e. embroidery.  The main challenge was to make the 3d printing look like an integral part of the knit and woven process .  to do so, we used it with special interweaving and interlocking processes.
How will the inclusion of new material combinations like this effect the future of fashion?
I believe that 3d printing will be a major driver of change in industrial design and it has great potential for fashion too.  technology has always been an important factor to create originality in fashion and I am very curious to investigate new possibilities.

It’s clear that creative individuals like Nicosia are seriously progressing 3D printed materials as a medium which should (quite rightly) demand serious consideration from all kinds of designers. It’s incredibly exciting to think about 3D printing in relation to textiles – a topic that we’ve already discussed on the 3D Printshow blog – so here’s to what happens next. We’ll do our best to keep you posted.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Culture snatch skate

Submission one of three for Vogue's talent contest (Fashion Writing)

I also took a few pictures of the girls at the skatepark. This one girl (below) was super cool. Pictures aren't great but I'm enjoying getting used to light room and my new lens.


Modeconnect Fashion Writing comp: round 1

I wrote a submission for Modeconnect's International Fashion Writing competition, which made it through to round two and has also been published (click here).

3D print technology set to challenge the fashion industry

Fashion thrives on the constant threat of change. A seasonal trend storms its way into the heart of the industry to be forgotten a few months later – leaving behind a few stand-out pieces which will go on to define a moment in culture. These classic, timeless or iconic garments are loaded with importance; they might have been worn by a celebrity, or perhaps referenced a culturally significant issue. Fashion can be lusted after or cherished for many different reasons – yet rarely is it remembered for how it was made. The way in which garments are produced has not significantly changed for many years. From high street to haute couture, the techniques used are often traditional and their developments can be mapped out on a trajectory of textiles built from the same starting points.

In the last few years however, a particularly disruptive new process has made its way into fashion studios around the world. Computational design involving 3D print technology looks set to challenge the fashion industry through a series of contentious innovations. The question of how the industry will integrate this pioneering process remains critical.

3D printing allows for the manufacture of computationally designed objects. The object’s design information, an impossibly detailed, three dimensional CAD drawing, is sent to a machine, which translates the design into a printable file. This machine either uses a nib to print layer upon layer of molten plastic to create the object (like building with layers of Lego), or alternatively melts grains of plastic together with a laser to form the object (like building sandcastle). Although the processes sounds complicated, 3D printing is remarkably accessible to a broad range of industries. Its potential has increased recently, finding new creative as well as industrial applications and capturing the imaginations of progressive fashion designers around the world.

Although the pieces created range in a variety of textures and aesthetics, due to the fixed nature of printing materials, a lot of 3D printed fashion is stiff artefacts & accessories rather than flexible garments. This kind of design is often referred to as wearable art. Dorry Hsu’s collection Aesthetic of Fears (image 1) illustrates the amazing level of intricacy that can be printed, whilst Pia Hinze’s piece Neobaroque (image 2) shows how 3D printing can allow for the production of shapes which could not be made with any other method. Items like this aren’t readily wearable, as their impractical rigidity and eccentric style make for a very limited audience. This might explain why so far only the most outlandish celebrities have taken to wearing 3D printing pieces. We are still a long way off seeing this kind of fashion on the high street.

An increasing number of luxury fashion brands however, are taking on the wearability challenge of 3D print technology. Recently, Pringle of Scotland’s A/W 14 collection saw 3D printed elements and embellishments paired with their trademark knit.

The work of practicing textiles graduate Laura Martinez (image 3) also illustrates this approach. Collaborating with architect and material scientist Richard Beckett, Pringle of Scotland’s collection illustrates the multidisciplinary nature of 3D printing in fashion. Highlighting the increasingly apparent tensions between computational production and hand-crafted design, new skill sets are becoming necessary.
Traditional methods of production such as tailoring or embellishment onto fabric will always be used. They could be combined with contemporary, 3D printing techniques; however many people working within this new field insist that wearable technology can only progress through the continued development of 3D printed materials. Computational fashion runs the very serious risk of being led by engineers, scientists and architects rather than experienced fashion designers.

Regardless of the technical innovation, an awareness of the body is a vital in pushing the wearable limits of 3D print technology into the mainstream fashion industry. Studios such as Digits 2 Widgets spend time producing varieties of stunning and impressive 3D printed fabrics (image 4), which are useless if they cannot work with the human body.
3D scanning and printing might one day mean that we can all simply print our own clothes – this is absolutely the dream and could revolutionise the industry. The exclusive nature of tailored clothing and haute couture would be dismantled if body scan data is used as the template for garments printed by a machine. The 3D printed couture of Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen’s has already started shifts in this direction.

For now, however, fully 3D printed garments are not yet produced in one piece. Studios like XYZ Workshop have embarked upon printing pieces in parts which are then put together (image 5) with striking results.
Tech – of all kinds – seems to be this year most tenacious fashion trend. As more experimental processes and applications are developed, more outrageous pieces are presented on the fashion week runways. But 3D printing may have even more radical impacts, rather than simply altering the appearance of fashion, this technology may actually influence the structure of the industry as well. This is where things might get really exciting.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Copenhagen: GLAM sector D.H.

I was really happy to be invited to take my first trip to Copenhagen earlier this week to present my research into digital knowledge structures at a really fantastic conference.

Many thanks to MMex, DR and Sharing is Caring '14 for supporting myself and my work. What an incredible (and important) event with some fantastic and intelligent people. Footage of my presentation coming soon.

Mules rule

via ZARA

Mules are one of contemporary fashion's most established heeled shoe shapes - but for some reason, it seems that they've only just begun to be seriously reconsidered and re-embraced by high fashion brands and high street. Simply by loosing that fluffy, seventies boudoir vibe and recreating the shape with a linear form and a black leather finish, they feel very relevant for S/S '14 - and stacks of street style images are showcasing what can be done with the shape.The slip on silhouette also seems to be especially relevant along side this season's longer length, mid-calf crop. I couldn't be happier.