AMFI is pioneering fashion frontiers to evolve the threads we spin and the garments we wear. Exchange student Louise Sonne Thaning spoke to researchers Laura Duncker and Joyce Vedder about their work for the Fashion Research & Technology lectorate in smart fashion production.
The fashion industry at-large has been no stranger to critique that it falls short of expectations – stagnating instead of innovating. The definition of what qualifies as ‘fashion’ seems to have degraded to a simple ‘medium’ or ‘interface’ to the masses. Amid the buzz about fashion brands using social networking tech and collaborating with celebrities, it is time to take the innovation which is being pioneered in the textile industry out of the limelight.
The industry is experiencing renewal, as researchers are creating new technologies specifically for the fashion industry. At AMFI an avid community of researchers are mapping out new boundaries for a modern fashion and textile landscape. The lectorate Fashion Research and Technology is a research group from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’ CREATE-IT Knowledge Centre that works with an array of education and industry partners.
By replacing traditional pattern-making techniques and the brick-and-mortar fitting room, researchers at AMFI are mapping a new topography for the industry.
Imagine an atelier where no material is pierced by needle and thread and no muslin or tracing paper pattern strips float about. This atelier produces made-to-measure designs on-demand. Researcher Laura Duncker is working on Smart Fashion Production. She and fellow researcher Karin Vlug investigated production methods to fixate textiles, instantly constructing finished three-dimensional garments. Such a change not only affects the production process but how designers conceptualise their approach to fabrics and process. Just as the man-made fibre polyester changed the industry, these smart production methods are part of this new frontier for fashion.
Student Joyce Vedder is also part of the Fashion Research and Technology lectorate, working on a project to optimise the Dutch military’s uniform using virtual fitting software. As of today, only one shape for the uniform exists, the pattern has simply been scaled according to size. Joyce is creating patterns for the uniform which incorporate both size and body type characteristics. Working with software to prototype the garments and measure fit saves time, costs, and waste compared to traditional methods.
Laura Duncker states that as modern production techniques will change the process of design, these new techniques will facilitate the development of a new aesthetic language.
Innovation is about being ingenious – not only developing newness. We need to continue to explore smarter, more sustainable production methods. Joyce says mashing-up or mixing existing products, technologies, or even schools of thought together to address issues from alternative angles is stimulating innovation.
The ripple effects of these innovations in textiles continues to promote escape from ‘the way we’ve always done it’. These researchers are forecasting storms of opportunity: innovation in textiles is central to improving working conditions, reducing waste and weaning consumers off a use-and-throwaway mentality. The fashion industry is guilty as charged for being second only to oil in terms of pollution. ‘We need to take responsibility for what we bring out in the world, and how it will change the way we live our lives.’, says Laura.
Catch Laura at the GlamCult exhibition as Smart Fashion Production from the 13th-24th of April. The lectorate’s research has travelled as far as Seoul and also showcased at Dutch Design Week and Amsterdam Fashion Week. Take a look at the variety of projects the group is involved in on their HvA website.
Words by Louise Sonne Thaning
Special thanks to Laura Duncker and Joyce Vedder.