Materials Unbound: Post-digital Fashion
November 11, 2015

Four leaders in the fields of materials innovation and experimental design join us as panellists for our first talk at the London College of Fashion this November, exploring the digital influence in craftsmanship today

Digital Disturbances, the current group exhibition at London’s Fashion Space Gallery, covers the collision between digital and physical worlds to explore the productive and yet disruptive effects that advancing technologies have heralded for the fashion industry. In the exhibition, we present ‘Ripple’, our interactive film that uses a tactile interface of fabric to give the audience a physical sensation of touching the clothing and images on screen, responding in real-time to human movement and touch. As each viewer’s hand runs across the fabric control panel, digital ripples move across the screen, using a bespoke application that peels back layers of film. The interaction uses a combination of Kinect technology and physical design to create a multi-sensorial experience.

Through the piece, we explore the potential to provoke new emotional connections with digital content. Raising this as a possible future in the context of the exhibition, we will be exploring the evolution and disruption of craftsmanship, identity and popular culture in a post-digital age over a series of three talks and discussions this November, led by us at POSTmatter.

 

Talk 1. Reinventing Craft and Design in the Digital Age

At LCF on 20th November, we will be presenting the first talk of the series, outlining the far-reaching influence of the digital age. In it, we identify a clear, practice-based backdrop of new machine-based tools, computer-led software, and emergent materials within fashion and design. Making it clear that this goes far beyond the zeitgeist of 3D printing alone, we will then address the increasing emergence of a digital influence within traditional craftsmanship, from glitches rendered in wax, to pixels woven into rugs. Most of all, we will establish a distinct focus on the overlaps and tensions between the physical and digital realms, expanding outwards into its creative implications for the fashion world.

How does the influence of technology impact on craft, design and cultural production today? Taking up this question in our discussion will be four panelists and friends of POSTmatter, each invited for their distinct expertise in their diverse fields, collectively tackling the interdisciplinary future of design.

 

Seetal Solanki

Throughout her roles as Art Director, Designer, Creative Consultant, Artist, and Image Maker, Seetal Solanki is pioneering the way digital influences fashion and materials. The Central Saint Martins graduate has spent the last ten years working across a range of disciplines to produce innovative print design for Alexander McQueen, Nike and Levi, and creative direction for Alvar magazine, to name just a few. With a focus on materials, processes, mediums and ideas, Solanki is currently exploring these through Ma-tt-er, the consultancy and research initiative she founded, that aims to consider the future of materials and their relationship with the creative process. Ma-tt-er launched a six-day exhibition and programme of events, Living in a Material World, at this year’s London Design Festival, showcasing work from designers including Tamsin van Essen, Lightning + Kinglyface and Marlene Huissoud, as well as pieces such as Amy Radcliffe's scentography "camera" that captures and records odour. Across her work there is an understanding that the materials we construct and exploit are as valuable as the things we make. Ma-tt-er is, after all, “What we’re made of.”

 

Cher Potter

Cher Potter is a London-based design theorist, curator and trend forecaster. Currently she holds the position of Senior Research Fellow in Design Futures at the Victoria & Albert Museum, visiting lecturer at the Architectural Association and columnist for 032C Culture Magazine, amongst others. As organiser of design salon Alterfutures in London, an event that brings together groups of artists, designers, film-makers and synthetic biologists focused on the future of design, Potter explores speculative projects that question expectations of the future and propose compelling alternatives. In the most recent Alterfutures event, ‘African Robots’, she presented her new two-year project that unites design theorists, technological innovators and museum professionals in Dakar, Accra, Nairobi, Cape Town, London and Orford to investigate how a ‘digital revolution’ combined with unprecedented city and population growth in Africa is resulting in new typologies of design.

 

Miriam Ribul

Since her MA in Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins, Miriam Ribul’s portfolio has expanded to include independent designer, Associate Lecturer in Sustainable Design at Chelsea College of Art & Design, Research Assistant at Textiles Environment Design (TED), contributor to the MISTRA Future Fashion project and co-founder of POSTextiles and vectors. Committed to the future of materials, her design research explores material development and process innovation for sustainable manufacturing. Combining digital methods with collaborative design approaches, she is working towards enabling a progressive and sustainable future through materials and design. Recently, she created a material coding system after receiving a funding award from COST, the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, to lead a science-design collaboration with technical scientists at Chalmers University of Technology and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.

 

Janis Jeffries

Janis Jefferies is an artist, writer and curator focused on the relationship between text, textiles and technology. Since her original training as a painter and in woven construction, she became a pioneer of contemporary textiles in the field of visual and material culture and is a leading practitioner and theorist in her field. Currently she works as a Professor of Visual Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is also Senior Research Fellow at the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles and the Director of Goldsmiths Digital Studios. Through researching ‘new’ business models and Intellectual Property structures across the sector that supports culture and creativity, she is able to develop her interest in creative solutions to address social, economic and cultural challenges. Also interested in haptics technologies, she works on projects bringing the sense of touch to the interface between people and machines, cloth and communications. Her new book, The Handbook of Textile Culture was published this month.

 

The talk will run from 6:30 - 8pm on Friday 20th November in LCF's Fashion Space Gallery. For more information click here.

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