Fashion Fabrication Forward Show at YoMo Festival 2019
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Fashion Fabrication Forward Show at YoMo Festival 2019

The IED Barcelona Design University presents the Fashion Fabrication Forward Show during The Youth Mobile Festival 2019, a creative performance involving ten designs produced by students using 3D printing, laser cutting and digital techniques, all as part of the Mobile World Congress. From 26 February to 2 March, IED Barcelona will be at La Farga in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat to test the boundaries between technology and art in fashion and to discuss the way new technologies and digital techniques are revolutionising the sector.

Under the creative direction of artist Enrique Perezalba Red, the performance draws on the creative, conceptual and multicultural diversity among these ten students. With documents to support the show, the audience is invited to understand the opportunities that new technologies bring and the way tradition lives in perfect harmony with the digital craze. The ideas presented reveal how the human body has been distorted and metamorphosed into an exoskeleton that behaves like an anatomical extension, tying in references to nature, art, film and music. These recurrent topics are now presented from a youthful perspective involving state-of-the-art technology.

The designs were put together based on a one‑week workshop where students from the Undergraduate Degree in Fashion Design and the BA (Hons) in Fashion Design explored new creative systems using smart technology. Coordinated by Noumena, Appareil and Lowpoly, the students researched the positive influence that digitalisation can have on fashion creation, converting it from one of the most contaminating industries into a much more ethical and sustainable sector.

The workshop – like the fashion show – is divided into three narrative lines: automation, computation and 3D printing. According to Julia Weems, the Head of the Fashion Department at IED Barcelona, these three concepts will be crucial in the industry’s development. “Our goal was to perform an experiment somewhere between art and technology to find real applications in fashion and possible solutions. New technologies could be a very important tool, but we must not overlook the artistic, crafty and human side of fashion.”

Fashion Fabrication Forward Show

Automation is the opening title of the show, which stemmed from a research initiative by Appareil involving the students. They have created “La caja normal” (the normal box) specially for the occasion – a structure with a mannequin inside wearing an elastic dress attached to 600 strings that can be moved individually to reshape the fabric into new volumes and silhouettes. Nobody had used this technique before, but according to Edouard Cabay it can “create a physical distance from the end product, which is similar to what happens with digital design. Is it a good thing? A bad thing? We will see. It is an extra tool that enables us to combine craftsmanship with digital creation to improve our design processes.”

The second part of the show, Computation, arose from a workshop organised by Noumena, a company that develops solutions in the fields of fashion, robotics and 3D manufacturing. Using architectural software and computational design, they created digital patterns to fit the dancers’ measurements and then used laser cutting to manufacture them. Aldo Sollazzo, the creator of Noumena, explains that this workshop can help to create customisable designs and enable the designer to choose the most suitable processes to make them. “This system can take a design to a new level of complexity and guarantee that it will be feasible,” assures Aldo.

The third and final part plays with the functions of 3D printers, using different techniques to deform the fabric, add new prints to it and even produce patterns that can change when exposed to heat. The expert in digital manufacturing Gianluca Pugliese from Lowpoly Wasp claims that 3D printing is already a reality in the fashion industry, but that there is still a lot to be researched and there are new, more accessible applications to be thought up. He adds that “this will have a much more significant implication in the development of clothing and fabrics.”

During the design process, each type of technology was combined with traditional techniques such as moulage or draping on mannequins. “The overall idea is to merge the two processes analogical and digital and see what we come up with,” said Pilar Pasamontes, IED Barcelona’s Scientific Fashion Director, to explain the reason why they chose to research these topics. Knowing that there is still a long way to go before the fashion industry fully takes on digital technology to create designs, it is important to start teaching future designers about the possibilities it offers: “We wanted to break the moulds in traditional design processes so students can apply these techniques in their future projects and keep an open mind towards technology,concluded Weems.

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