As a freshman design student, my Textiles professor started our first day of class by bleakly stating that none of us would develop anything new… It’s all been done before, she boldly stated. She believed there had been nothing new in fashion since the Dior silhouette. It wasn’t until I transferred to my alma mater that I realized the possibilities – the open doors. Having access to textile printing machines, 3D printers, pattern design software, and embroidery machines was all new to me. And all of it was new technology!
Every week I am lucky enough to work with sewers of different skill levels and ages. I’m consistently reminded that innovation still exists. I regularly work with a young girl who is particularly inspired by Manga and comics. She is currently bringing to life a design that began on her computer screen. Another student I work with, a high schooler, will be holding his second fashion show at school this year. He has designed, sewn, and created 100% of the garments all on his own. He even learned how to mix music for the runway and pooled his friends to be models for his show. Yet another, much younger sewer, comes to my studio with an idea every time I see her. Together, we bring it to life! I’ll tell you much more about these students in future blog posts!
Often while we work I’ll ask them what they are doing after high school or college. Many of them know right away what their plans are, while some are more hesitant and unsure of what the future will hold. Some of them are unquestionably leaning towards careers in fashion, while others are hoping to sew and create as a hobby while working in other industries. I always encourage them to experiment with things while they are at this level of learning. It’s a great time to try new things without the pressure of having to make money or having an employer demanding that you produce or design specific pieces.
For the students that are considering fashion design or a job in the fashion industry, it’s hard to realize the possibilities – especially with all of the new developments in technology and textiles. When we think ‘fashion design careers,’ we think of designers sketching away on croquis and flats in a busy workroom or office, a room full of sewers on huge commercial machines, or a huge warehouse stocked with bolts and bolts of fabric. But what if fashion were more personal? More accessible? Downloadable?!
In this TED Talk you can learn about how Danit Peleg made her senior collection with the use of a 3D printer in her own living room. I especially enjoyed hearing her talk about her process. As with sewing and physical design, there was much trial and error as she sourced her materials and learned about new ones.
I don’t think that in the early 2000’s any of us saw the possibilities that technology brought to fashion. I wonder what that Textile professor would say now?