Fashion Tech on the SS16 Runway
Technology has been gaining a foot-hold in the fashion industry in the past year with designers like Rebecca Minkoff embracing all-things fashion and retail tech with handbags that charge phones and “smart” dressing rooms, 3D printed textiles crafted by Bradley Rothenberg showing up on the runways in New York, social media platforms like Periscope changing the way we see fashion shows, and apps that help us showcase and purchase designer’s collections WHILE they are coming down the runway.
Fashion-tech has been a loose term that in many ways has been used inappropriately, but it is beginning to create a presence in the mainstream vocabulary, indicating the forward-reaching development sweeping the industry.
We had our eyes peeled on the runways through this long and hectic fashion season. We’ve managed to whittle down a list of our favourite and most memorable fashion-tech moments on the Spring-Summer 2016 runways.
1 Iris Van Herpen – Paris Fashion Week , Ready To Wear
Iris Van Herpen is a legend and pioneer in 3D printed couture. This year her collection was inspired by the tree bridges of India that are shaped and coerced by man to span across rivers and gorges. Her luxurious 3D printed gowns and elaborate geometrical pieces were sent down the runway with models precariously balanced on Finsk platform shoes (a collaborative project between the two brands). Despite the extreme other-worldliness of her couture-esque pieces, this collection is ready-to-wear for a reason. Many of the stunning pieces were modern, sleek and oh-so-wearable and covetable.
That was if you weren’t too distracted by Game of Thrones actor Gwendoline Christie surrounded by robots 3D printing a dress on a pedestal. “The live process blends different techniques – laser cutting, hand weaving and 3D printing into one dress which spreads from the centre, quaquaversal in its geometries,” said a statement from Van Herpen.
2 Chromat – Miami Fashion Week, swimwear
Chromat teamed up with Intel to create garments that are both hi-tech and useful. Using the Intel Curie module – a module that serves as an extension of the sensory system, allowing you to customize the garment’s shape and dictate how it will adapt to the wearer’s environment – they created two distinct pieces in their SS16 collection.
The Chromat Aeros Sports Bra is perhaps the most exciting and useful piece that will have it listed as a “must have” item. This responsive bra uses the Intel curie module to respond to perspiration, respiration, and body temperature with vents that cool the body down when it senses heat or sweat.
The Chromat Adrenaline Dress is more of a wearable art piece. The 3D printed panels designed in collaboration with Francis Bitonti with an interlinked, expandable carbon fibre framework use the Intel Curie module to sense adrenaline. The framework mimics the fight or flight mode, extending to create an imposing shape when the wearer feels threatened.
3 Zac Posen – New York Fashion Week
Zac Posen teamed up with Google’s non-profit organization Made with Code to create an LED dress to light up the end of his runway show at New York Fashion Week. Made with Code is a program that inspires girls to pursue careers in tech coding.
The LED coded patterns were created by a team of 30 girls and the circuit was designed and physically built into the fabric by fashion designer and computer enthusiast Maddy Maxey. Covered in 500 LED lights controlled by a micro-controller, the gown was worn by Coco Rocha to close Posen’s SS16 show.
“Fashion would talk about how we don’t need tech, and tech would talk about how fashion isn’t necessary. It’s only been in the past few years that the people have decided the two need to combine in order to have a truly successful future.”
~ CoCo Rocha
“This is the future of the industry: mixing craft, fashion, and technology,” the 34-yeard old designer told PEOPLE. “There’s a discrepancy in the coding field, hardly any women are at the forefront, and that’s a real shame. If we can entice young women through the allure of fashion, to get them learning this language, why not?”
We couldn’t agree more. Although we’ve been getting a bit tired of LED light projects, this one IS beautifully executed and we adore the ethos of the project!
4 Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel – Chanel Couture Collection presented in the Fall of 2015 in Paris and New York
It may be a sign that 3D printing has a solid future in fashion when a legendary fashion house uses the technology in their collection. Karl Lagerfeld made waves in the community when he unveiled his Chanel couture collection this season. The pieces are composed of 3D printed grids and use selective laser sintering (where lasers are used to melt powdered material one layer at a time based on a 3D model). From afar, the pieces looked more crisp and three-dimensional but the innovative use of technology to produce them wasn’t evident until you were able to closer inspect the pieces’ flexible, cage-like materials.
“The idea is to take the most iconic jacket of the 20th century and make a 21st century version,” Lagerfeld told AFP after the show.
5 Plastic Tokyo – Tokyo Fashion Week SS16
Plastik Tokyo brought a practical twist to fashion-tech with fabrics that were water-repellant while still highly breathable. The gender-neutral collection was a meld of Woodstock festival garb and experimental Tokyo street style.
6. Diana Broussard – Paris Fashion Week SS16
Despite being based in New York, designer Diana Broussard launched her new dbChronicle handbag at Paris Fashion Week. The plexiglass shoulder bag features a flexible LCD video screen that features looping video art by Giovanni Locantore, soundtracked by Lang. The bag, which will retail for $1 950, recharges when plugged into your laptop via USB and the video can be customized by the wearer.