When it comes to fashion and design, it’s easy to think solely about the collections that premier at New York Fashion Week. But with the development of new technologies and alternative approaches to the industry, there is a new breed of artists that is slowly reshaping the way that fashion collections are designed and produced. Their collections are still aesthetically pleasing, but a tad more unusual, eccentric, and innovate.
I’m guilty of underestimating fashion. Although I love shopping and finding beautiful articles of clothes, I forget that every purchase is actually a product of design and effort. Instead, I throw the new pieces into my closet where they sit forgotten until my alarm goes off, I spring out of bed, toss on a matching ensemble, and it’s off to work I go. But fashion and design is a skilled craft and science. We’ve stumbled across some incredible artists who are working from within the peripheries of the fashion industry to change our wear-and-tear culture.
Fashion as Art
Fashion designers strive to create elegant and timeless pieces that are also wearable. The industry has always been at the border between functionality – with ready-to-wear collections – and high art through the world of Haute Couture. The constant questioning of whether a collection should be labeled as fashion or art led to a new method of thinking – Conceptual Fashion. Yojiro Kake recently released his unexpected collection at the 2014 FASHIONCLASH Festival. Like so many of his fellow innovative designers, he believes that fashion should constantly progress through innovation, otherwise it becomes stale and listless.
Also leading the charge in conceptual fashion is the Dutch-based fashion house, Viktor and Rolf. Their design house has just announced the end of their ready-to-wear collections so that the designers can focus on their elaborate couture collections.
Image via: Gabriella Marina Gonzalez
What better way to advance the industry than to introduce new materials to work with? Designer Gabriella Marina Gonzalez breaks away from the use of traditional fabrics and components to create a series of unusual acrylic accessories in her recent 2015 collection, “Alcyone Dreaming”. The shoes alone are beautiful creations of form, but I couldn’t imagine myself tackling the hill of San Francisco in them. Wouldn’t stop me from trying, though.
The use of acrylic, while unusual, has recently served a function in interior design. Now, the emergence of 3D printing technology has started to create interesting new horizons in the field of fashion as well. Swedish designer Saina Koohnavard plays with the idea of two dimensional drawings being transformed into three dimensional forms in her latest collection. Her ability to merge two different angles into one unique perspective gives all of our roomies a reason to continue pursuing our love of Scandinavian design.
3d Technology in Fashion
With the development and introduction of 3D printing in the fashion industry, artists and designers are delving into the boundary-less possibilities that this technology allows. Artist Elvira ‘t Hart uses her drawings on paper as the starting point for her collection. She then feeds them directly into the printer in order to transform her flat sketches into tangible objects of clothes. Her collection is designed to look exactly like the sketches on her drawing pad.
Other designers embrace the mathematical abilities that come with the use of 3D printers. Award winning designer Noa Raviv released this extraordinary collection of grid inspired womenswear for her 2014 collection. As seen in her work, the design world has been bursting with references to the Postmodern design movement. This new line happens to come around with the current resurgence of PoMo design and Jean-Pierre Raynaud’s “la Maison de Celle-Saint-Cloud,” which has reintroduced the use of grid-patterns and anti-design.
Where one may find inspiration in mathematics and geometry, others find inspiration in the visually striking and avant-garde. Iris van Herpen partakes in a modern view on Haute Couture that combines detailed handwork techniques with digital technology. Van Herpen seeks to re-evaluate reality in order to express individuality through her work.
3D printing is also changing the way that accessories are made. United Nude launched an official collaboration with various architects and designers in order to re-invent shoes. Among the designers was the founder and principle architect of UN Studios, Ben van Berkel.
Unusual Materials Found in Fashion
The introduction of the 3D printer has broken new ground when it comes to the use of materials in the fashion world, but the experimentation of alternative and unusual textiles is still one of the industry’s most popular playgrounds. Conceptual fashion designer Txell Miras’ recent A/W 2015 collection is an example of groundbreaking exploration in the blending of materials. Traditional textiles like cotton and sheer mesh fabric shared the runway of fashion show with her unconventional designs made from braided ropes and cardboard dresses.
Also fusing conventional fabrics with brand new technologies is the Sensoree brand. Their Ger Mood Sweater features hidden sensors in the fabric that interprets the wearer’s emotion and translates that through the colorful, interactive collar.
Bea Szenfeld makes her living as a paper sculptor. Her collection, Haute Papier, is a playful interpretation of high fashion and haute couture collections. These pieces are carefully crafted with precision and skill. Haute Couture, while wearable, isn’t made with functionality as its aim. Szenfeld fiddles with that approach and goes one step further, creating intricate garments made out of paper – a delicate and frail material. The gowns are meant to be admired for their advanced design and unusual details.
Keeping on the idea of fashion as purely for the sake of art, these crayon dresses were commissioned from fashion designers to decorate the Bloomingdales’ windows in the New York flagship. Despite carrying the names of well-known designers like Rebecca Taylor and Ronny Kobo, these Crayola dresses were designed with one objection in mind – to wow street-goers and draw them into the main building.
Costume Design and Fashion
When it comes to extraordinary fashion and costume design, no one is better at showcasing eccentric designers like the the Queen of the Beyhive fandom. Our love of Beyonce’s fashion even led to us tracking down our favorite Miss Carter looks and sharing them in our shop. While researching, we stumbled across the Brooklyn-based design house, Chromat. This experimental house established by former architect, Becca McCharen, designed Beyonce’s 2013 Superbowl outfits. In addition to creating elaborate costumes for other well-known pop artists, Chromat releases ready-to-wear collections that focus on the structural needs of the human body.
Also dabbling in the realm of fashion design is self-described sci-fi “Body Architect,”Lucy McRae. In addition to her recent work designing cover art and costumes for pop artist Robyn’s latest album and music video, McRae has been commissioned to work on photo shoots for magazines like Vogue. McRae, like so many of the designers previously mentioned, plays with the idea of dressing the body as an avant-garde method of art. Her work in clothing indicates her unique embrace of sci-fi sensibilities found in her fantastic set pieces and photo shoots.
Fashion Magazines and Innovative Bloggers
It’s a highly exciting time for fashion and art.As the mind behind the visually striking tumblr, Where I See Fashion, Bianca Luini views fashion as a form of art. More designers are getting recognition for their interdisciplinary work. They’re allowing fashion to exist on the border of other fields like art and technology. They are breaking away from established styles and the set rules of the fashion world. This new breed of designer is becoming the sole focus for certain museums,bloggers, and magazines. Luini mentions the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as an example of fashion design recognized as artistically iconic. His exhibition is one of many fashion retrospectives that are highlighting memorable pieces in the history of fashion. Here is a list of our favorite resources for the fashionably eccentric.
Magazines and Blogs To Read
WISF – Where I See Fashion is a visual blog run by Bianca Luini that pairs runway outfits with matching images of art, photography, or design.
We The Urban – an online publication favored by Luini that is dedicated to culture, music, art, fashion, photography, and more.
Dazed and Confused – with a focus on youth culture, this independent magazine focuses on pioneering fashion photography and agenda-setting editorials.
Creem Magazine – a curated publication with a strong focus in creative communities and cultures.
Glam Cult – a free design magazine that focuses on fashion, beauty, music, film, art, and lifestyle.
Fashion Clash – an online platform and blog focused on showcasing emerging talent in fashion and art.
Glam Jam – an online fashion atlas with a focus on design, textiles, perfumes, people, places, glamour, and art.
Promostyl Blog – an online trend agency with a focus in fashion and design.
The Kinsky– a relatively young magazine about the power of fashion, arts, ideas, and opinions.
i-D – This constantly evolving magazine that focuses on fashion, music, art, clubs, and films is a favorite of both Luini and the myWebRoom team and can be found in our Creative Inspiration Room’s bookcase!
Fashion Retrospects and Exhibits
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – as the first retrospective of McQueen’s work, this traveling exhibition premiered at The Metropolitan in New York before traveling to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Bjork Retrospective – A retrospective at the NY MoMA that follows the 20 year transformation of musical artist Bjork through fashion, sound, film, and visuals.
China: Through the Looking Glass – An exhibition at the Metropolitan Musuem that explores Chinese aesthetics in Western Fashion through courture, Chinese costumes, paintings, and other art.
High Style – On loan from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, this exhibit at the Legion of Honor traces the evolution of fashion in the 20th century.
And of course, if you love style but want something a little more attainable, you can find over 300 hundred fashion resources in our brand new Common Room, the Fashion Showroom!