Thursday, May 20, 2010
The fashion crowd has traditionally been criticized for their slow embrace of technology. Old masters deplore the loss of hand-drawn sketches, couture sewing techniques and artisan craftsmanship in today's mass market world.
Where does textile design fit into this debate? The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on high end designers who have incorporated the use of digital fabric printing into their collections. Zac Posen and Helmut Lang were able to translate photographic images into dresses. Recent technology has allowed for sharper, crisper images that were not possible in the years before.
Theia designer Don O'Neill took advantage of the speed of this tool by combining the new and the old. He translated an original piece of art into a custom digital print fabric in time to be worn by Carrie Underwood for an awards night.
Does this technology take away from those who still illustrate patterns by hand and use silk screening as a couture art form? Not according to Catherine Malandrino, who vows to continue employing artists specifically for this purpose.
In my own experience of design, there is no technology that replaces hand appliques and embroidery as a technique.
The most recent season of Project Runway, designers worked with Vivienne Tam to create a digitally printed fabric. This is also the show where the talent is asked to create each outfit by hand and employ Haute Couture skills for the runway. It's about making finding new mediums to express creativity.
What is your favorite medium for design? Does digital open up new possibilities? Need to explore it more? Craftzine has a great guide to break it down.