Fashion is consistently evolving and creatively erupting at lightning speed. With technology and science added to the mix, the futuristic vision and execution by established designers and avant-garde labels are riveting. Digging deep within the subject, let’s dissect the various practices like kinetic components, digital clothing and 3D construction that has pushed the envelope.
1. Kinetic Fashion
Kinectic fashion was popularised by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen during her debut Paris Haute Couture week presentation in 2018. Her latest Spring/Summer 2021 collection, titled Roots of Rebirth, further explores the concept. The idea is to apply scientific methodology in fashion and create silhouettes that are in motion. In collaboration with artist Casey Curran, she challenged the complexities of natural formations and translated them into her designs. Models walked the runway in elaborate dresses and Casey’s state-of-the-art helmets. The motion helmets, created over a year, were perfectly in sync with the couture forming a visual rhythm.
“The idea behind the crown is motion. I wanted to pull from those forces that exist in our environment unseen or felt until moved against. A field of grass waving before a storm, the spine of a fish rippling through an ocean current. Wind passing under the wing of a diving bird. Each of these examples exists as recognisable gestures, and for Roots of Rebirth, I wanted to recreate these motions in the abstract.”
“In the design of the kinetic crown, there’s less science and endless amounts of trial and error. At its core, a crown is a machine that needs to work at the end of the day, so I spent a lot of time researching materials and testing the tolerances of its various components. I typically start with a basic silhouette of what I’d like the end result to be. With that rough shape as a guide, I create the design for the kinetics around it, almost working backwards from the idealised image inside my mind.”
2. 3D Construction
Gaurav Gupta and Amit Aggarwal are the kinds of Indian designers who have taken couture in the country beyond its traditional barriers. They do offer their consumers lehengas and saris but never without a futuristic spin. For both Amit and Gaurav, it’s all about edgy yet functional silhouettes that are created out of experimental fabrics like recycled plastic and metallic polymers.
While Aggarwal infuses technology through engineering unconventional fabrics in conventional ways, Gupta creates sculptural drama by letting his imagination run wild. The designers have taken the theory of 3D fashion and practically incorporated it into the Indian design aesthetic. Here’s what the maestros have to say about the juxtaposition of science and technology in fashion.
“Growing up in a family of engineers, science was always a huge influence on my work, and after graduating from NIFT, technology became an integral part of figuring how I could find ways to experiment in design.”
“For me, the whole aspect of taking something outside the form of the wearer or the body is to understand that there are multiple dimensions to a personality, and it cannot be contained in a single structure of skin and bones. I feel that there is an aura, an entire halo in every organism; that’s exactly what my understanding of 3D is. I think there is a certain beauty; something that you are wearing lingers in the air even after you have left it, and that is what I tried to showcase
through our 3D collection and designs- to find a way to bring out a new dimension in the wearer.”
“With our 3D collection, we have taken our drive to be more sustainable up a notch. We’ve looked hundreds of years into the future and cast aside a lot of plastic to create newer, more thoughtful textiles. While the brand has always used recycled polymer as strips, this collection sees it in full-moulded form. We have also used recycled sequin tubes, corded ruffles and moulded acrylic to create structures representing our brand DNA. Techniques such as pleating, ribbing through the polymer, plissé, fine draping, and 3D embroideries in the collection serve as a reminder of our commitment to innovation in craftsmanship.”
“I am obsessed with form and sculpture. For me, fashion is an art form, and I see infinity in everything. Nature and the many sciences of the human form are endlessly inspiring. The innate need to explore and experiment translates very organically to my sculptural design language. For me, fashion is multifaceted – It is not only textiles but a reflection of Art, architecture, culture, nature and everything around us.”
“The Future of fashion is very multidimensional. It is becoming more and more individualistic – it’s almost like every individual’s universe is coming into its own fashion. Fashion is becoming an expression of who they are and what they want their work to reflect. There’s no limit to what you can achieve once you apply technology and science to your craft.”
3. Digital Clothing
The Fabricant is one of the world’s first digital fashion house, creating 3D garments and fashion stories that are non-physical and futuristic. Their core belief is that fashion should waste nothing but data and exploit nothing but imagination. It channels the power of the digital medium to assemble a path for futuristic fashion that functions without physical restrictions. There are no actual garments but a virtual concept that will help you clone into their designs, making ingenious concepts with fashion. In a detailed summary, Michaela Lacrosse – head of creative strategy and communications, talk about the cult label’s power moves to make fashion a virtual reality.
“When The Fabricant was established in 2018, fashion was the last major creative industry to digitise. If you think of any other industries such as film, music or photography, they all had strongly established digital cultures already. Fashion was clinging to old school thinking and resistant to futuristic technology as a means to disrupt its behaviour, but there was clearly a need for it to happen.”
“All of our work is created in our digital atelier, which uses high-resolution screens, not scissors and cutting tables, to bring our pieces to existence. The conceptual process for our work is similar to that of a traditional fashion house in that we create mood boards and samples of designs, but the entire process is digital; nothing physical is ever used. Our digital fashion team is classically trained to understand the drape and fit of real fabrics, but they have all transitioned their skills into purely creating in a 3D software such as CLO. When the designs have been conceptualised, they are ‘stitched’ together in 3D to create fully realised digital garments that are worked to a high level of craft and finished to make them flawless and hyper-real futuristic.”
“Our planetary circumstances demand that we rethink our relationship with fashion. We need to stop creating endless collections that require us to deplete precious natural resources and ultimately end up in the landfill. Digital fashion is a means to express yourself and explore your identity without the boundaries of the physical world, so it’s this limitless creative playground where you can be anything you want to be, and it’s a place that everyone should feel comfortable participating in. Digital clothes are for all genders, all body types and all sizes, and you can be free from the limitations of reality. You can wear a suit made of flames or a dress made of thunderstorms, so it creatively exciting and opens up a new palate of expression that just isn’t possible in the real world.”
Research: Siddhi Dolas and Shaeroy Chinoy