Sandy Black, author of Eco-Chic and Director of the Centre for Fashion Science has written this article in The Independent this weekend:
My passion for the fusion of science and design developed at University. Although I learned to knit and crochet as a child, it was while at university studying maths that my interest in knitting really developed, and I started to design and make unusual and interesting clothes. Being self-taught, I was not restricted by any boundaries and felt I could translate any idea into knitting by working out a logical way of doing it.
This approach clearly owed something to my mathematical background, and for me, there was a natural relationship between the two. I often put many ideas and techniques together to create complex designs, many of which are are non-repetitive, and combine colour, texture and form so that the result appears totally natural. Even now as a research professor, knitting continues to be, for me, the perfect blend of creativity, craft and technology, which my education seemed to want to separate.
Knitting used to be the poor relation of textiles but has now grown to be properly recognized, and has a vital part to play in fashion. I built an international business in fashion knitwear and yarns, with my designs and knitting kits selling in major retail stores worldwide such as Liberty and Harrods in London, Saks on 5th Avenue in New York and Takashimaya in Tokyo. Innovative and experimental crafted knitwear have recently made a big splash on the London Fashion Week catwalk, with Mark Fast’s intricate designs.
But knitting is not the only textile that has been influenced by science and mathematics. My current work as director for the Centre for Fashion Science at the London College of Fashion aims for collaboration between scientists and designers to create new concepts, products and processes which harness innovations in science and technology. This will break new ground in fashion–related research and hopefully merge desirability and fashion with sustainability and well-being.
The convergence of digital technologies and disciplines such as nanotechnology, with materials and cognitive sciences has opened up unprecedented possibilities for these technologies to create fashion and textiles that can respond to the user and have a function which enhances other aspects of our lifestyles.
For example, some of the centre’s researchers are exploring applications of body scanning for made-to-measure fashion and accessories and virtual try-on developments for key retailers. This could allow consumers to see if trousers fit their figure without having the hassle of the changing rooms.
Other areas of research include the development personalised design. This includes projects in to bespoke bags, which are ergonomically designed to fit the body; research examining how new forms of textiles can be developed to conform to the body providing clothes that truly are the ‘perfect fit’; and the study of seamless garment knitting for comfort and personalised fit utilising advanced knitting technology. A team at London College of Fashion is also developing an online style advisor system for ‘mass customization’, allowing the consumer to make clothing to their own specification. This is part of a European collaborative research project involving manufacturers and institutions from Germany, France, Greece, Italy and the UK.
Wonderland, a research project funded by the EPSRC, is collaboration between Professors Helen Storey (co-director Centre for Fashion Science at LCF) and Prof Tony Ryan (a polymer chemist from Sheffield University) which is enabling fashion to create the seemingly impossible. For instance, the disappearing dress, made from dissolving textiles which disintegrate in water, creating vibrant underwater fireworks; bringing a whole new possibility for sustainable clothes development. There are also incredible extensions of this, using the technologies to explore intelligent packaging, which once finished with, can be dissolved under hot water to form a gel in which seeds can be grown. This concept could revolutionise the packaging industry and resolve the age old problem of waste plastic.
These are just a few examples of how science and technology will increasingly link up with textiles, fashion and the creative industries to both push the boundaries of useful new technology and create design-led and innovative product ideas. These are exciting times for fashion and science, and I am excited to be at the cusp of the research which could change our lives.
Sandy Black is supporting the Science: [So what? So everything] campaign, which aims to highlight the science behind our everyday lives and the exciting careers in science.
studio sample sale
Goodone are hosting a sample sale/collection launch/stock clearance. With white wine and any other non-coloured beverage we can think of!
Come down to the goodone studio next friday 2nd October from 3pm. You can order your own goodone design in any colour combination that takes your fancy and get it cheaper than any retail price. Its also a great opportunity to see our new SS10 collection and pick up a real bargin from our stock clearout.
Studio 1 B
2-4 Southgate Rd
london, N1 3JJ
The studio is based at the bottom of Southgate rd, its a 5 min bus ride from old street station. Leave Old street at exit No 5 and then jump on the 141, 21 or 76. When you see the canal you will be on Bearing St and the Briggs brothers building will be in sight. A good landmark is the 2&4 cafe which is at the front of the building. There will be signs directing you to the studio when you arrive. If you get lost just give us a bell and we’ll direct you.
Our studio number is 0207 249 01 99
Fashioning an Ethical Industry will be hosting a seminar on Education for Sustainable Fashion at the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris from 1pm to 3:30pm on Sunday October 4th 2009. The event will take place at Tapis Rouge: 67, rue du fg St Martin 75010 Paris. The event is aimed at fashion tutors and students but everyone is welcome. The event will be in both French and English.
1.00pm: Shopping ethically – Nayla Ajaltouni, Collectif de L’Ethique sur L’Etiquette, France
1.30pm: Ethics in education – Liz Parker, joint project coordinator, Fashioning an Ethical Industry, UK
2.00pm: Ethical fashion from design to manufacture – Fair Labor Association / University of Delaware, USA
2.30pm: Ethical fashion management – Natalie Ruelle, Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) , France.
3.00pm:Marketing ethics in an uncertain economy – Emmanual Walliser, Numanu – Label of Love, France
Tickets are available here:
LCF Professor Reina Lewis and guest Lucy Siegle and Christian Kemp-Griffin disucss the impact of ethics on matters of style. Is green still the new black or will the credit crunch make cheap clothes a renewed priority for hard-pressed consumers? As fur makes a return to some catwalks, we consider whether new smart fabrics will redefine luxury, and explore how technological advances in the design and delivery of fashion open up the bespoke experience to new consumers. Also, the politics of pleasure.
The event takes place at the V&A, on the 27th October at 7pm – book online here.
Time for a catch up of CSF news. We been so super busy I fear time may have run away from us without so much of an update.
With LFW here, in fact almost over, we’ve had all hands on deck in the office trying to produce our Shared Talent India look book, man the stand in Estethica, launch our new website, host an evening at Asia House and organize the Student Competition.
So, where to start? Shared Talent India, as you probably know has been a design model based on collaboration, sharing knowledge and working collectively. The workshop took place in India during July and the fruits of this are being shown on the Monsoon stand in Estethica at LFW. To support the work, and show how beautiful clothes can be made from sustainable Indian textiles we thought it would be great to produce a lookbook to support the collection. All the designers who took part in the project have some of their work styled and shot in the book.
The shoot took place in an amazing hotel, just outside Hastings, called Eagle House Hotel and what a place. It is difficult to describe the location – check out the photos and the behind the scenes video footage to get a taste for the shoot and the location. It was a long and fraught day but despite the stress the end results are fantastic and a credit to all involved especially the photographer, Kerry Dean, and stylist, Katie Felstead. We felt the shoot should be sexy, modern, colourful and very fashion forward. The results were beautiful and alongside the work being displayed on the stand at fashion week show how doing things differently can produce great results. Forging a new path is scary but worthwhile and this is what working in the ‘movement’ of sustainable fashion is all about – if you don’t try you don’t know.
The behind the scenes video and images from the look book will be on the site soon…
So onwards to the launch of our brand new website. This has been a CSF baby for a long time and we’re thrilled to be live. The design of the website was also something of a collaborate process, with the web design company, Exposure, being a great creative driving force, not to mention patient and understanding about all our requirements. The new site will feature articles from leading industry figures, research dialogue makers and future big stars. Please contact us with ideas for articles, information, features, comments.
So, we’ve got the stand for one more day and things have been going well. The launch on Friday was a success and the event last night at Asia House, was also an interesting opportunity to discuss things with a new audience and explore some of the issues raised during Shared Talent. A great evening was had by all.
It certainly caused quite a storm in press teacup – the row between designer Mark Fast and the stylist for his S/S show. It caught our attention in the CSF office as Mark Fast has been one of the exciting brands that took advantage of our first sessions of business support workshops.
It’s great the designers challenge the status quo, be that through design, sourcing, fabrics, technology or the use of size zero models. This is particularly true for Mark Fast who has been accused of making clothes only for very skinny women, and what better way to silence your critics? It cost him his stylist and creative designer just a couple of days before his show on Saturday. However, the show must go on, and it did to be hailed a success.
Mark has shown he is prepared to make changes and challenges, Mark we salute you.