Co-Everything: Defining Co-Design for fashion and textiles

Friday 6th November ‘09
3.30pm – 5pm
Lecture Theatre, Chelsea Millbank
TFRG / PhD Student Jen Ballie presents:‘Co-Everything: Defining Co-design for Fashion and Textiles’
Co-design is an all-encompassing term to describe participatory action, but how does it fit fashion? This presentation will explore a series of co-design terms and define them within a fashion context, to offer a series of solutions for designers for discussion with the audience.
If you are a undergraduate/ postgraduate student from the University of the Arts, London and have an interest in this area please come along or contact me or more info.


Build Your Own Dress

Studio 28 Couture offers a bespoke dress service allowing customers to co-create their own clothing via a “build your own application”.
This easy to use application allows the user to select dress shape, fit and apply colour or pattern via swatches provided, the fabric swatches change seasonally. The options presented provide lots of variations regardless of opting for either cotton or jersey fabrics.
Their service is marketed to provide affordable clothing that is unique and invites the consumer to participate in the design process. All dresses are made by hand in NYC and take approx 3 weeks to arrive.
I think it would be interesting if there were more fashion experiences presented this way. Studio 28 Couture are offering a similar solution to style|shake another bespoke dress creator website which I blogged about a while back…
A Style|Shake Creation
Style|Shake are evolving rapidly and have integrated a wedding service into their service! They offer affordable personalised fashion and their dresses retail between £35-65.
I have uploaded a youtube video of the Style|Shake process:
Both are a fantastic add on to traditional online shopping and a great way to personalise your wardrobe or even create that dress you have wanted for a long time but haven’t been able to find or don’t feel confident or skilled enough to produce independently.
But, how could these services be expanded upon to allow consumers to participate further in the design process? Can such services support upskilling or integrate upcycling into their business models?
I think it’s fantastic that both solutions are affordable and easy to use and cant wait to see how they evolve.

ISEA 2009

I am off to Belfast, Ireland this week to the International Symposium of Electronic Art 09 where I will be presenting my first academic paper! The ISEA is a non profit organisation promoting interdisciplinary action through academic discourse and promoting a dialogue through the disciplines of art, design, science and emerging technologies.

I will be presenting in the third Interactive Textiles category which explores collaboration, cross-disciplinarity and consumption. My paper reviews participatory design methods for fashion support by digital media and sustainability will be a central theme throughout my presentation.

I’m really excited to be attending this event as they have some really amazing key note speakers lined up. Clive van Heerden , the Senior Director of Design-Led Innovation at Philips and responsible for leading the Philips Design Probes program will be presenting on Wednesday and Thursday will host Moritz Waldemeyer, the engineer behind Hussein Chalayan’s futuristic fashion creations.

The are a series of Fashion and Textiles sessions exploring time and form, materiality and wearability and lastly, adoption and collaboration, cross disciplinarity and consumption.And that’s just a summary of the Textile categories, there are many more presentations and workshops within other disciplines.



I cant wait to experience this action packed week! Running parallel to this digital exploration I am going to try out another digital experience – twitter! I will try my hand at some micro blogging photos and comments live from ISEA09 for the duration of the week… Bye, bye and tweet to you later!

Very Fashion & Style

very fashion

Images sourced from Very’s flickr account

Very – is a new online fashion brand who have integrated social networking and digital media tools like you tube, twitter and flickr into its social platform.  This will allow members to converse about clothing with others including expert stylists and celebrities!

The VIP lounge will open its digital doors tomorrow,  hosting a live chat with Vogue TV presenter and stylist Louise Roe.  The VIP lounge will allow members to discuss fashion and style with support. Louise is an industry expert who writes style columns for a number of fashion magazines like Elle and Vogue, she interviews top designers, celebrities and reports each seasons key trends for Vogue TV. So having access to her knowledge and expertise is an opportunity not to be missed! Guest speakers will follow on every day this week from Miranda Levy, Simon Webb, Fearne Cotton and Caprice.

The platform is said to evolve around the response of its users. I think its fab that Very are putting their members at the forefront and really paying attention to their interaction. We all love shopping (well I do!) and in the current economic climate and concern over environmental issues it can be very difficult to make fashion decisions. High street fashion has made clothing accessible to everyone but we have so many decisions to make… this can allow fashion to become lost in translation and maybe even take the joy away if shopping becomes more stressful. Therefore I welcome a platform that will provide support, allow us to ask questions and source style advice.

I love shopping but its not just the joy of walking out of a shop with a new garment (unless its something I been coveting for ages) but also the experiential value associated. Shopping can be a really social activity… we support each other and offer advice on what to wear and when.  Fashion is an important part of our lives it performs functionally but it can also promote well being and self confidence.  Finding a place and time to chat with friends and share fashion stories can be difficult to slot into our everyday lives but through using the internet we can communicate with our friends on the move…

Its great that Very are allowing us to apply digital media tools which we are already familiar  to fashion. Will it improve our fashion, style and allow us to make new friends in the process? Hopefully, we will need to watch that Internet space….

very fashion flickr

Digital Textile Design

I have just received a new book from amazon: Digital Textile Design by Melanie Bowles

This book is beautifully illustrated showcasing students from Chelsea College of Art & Designs work. It provides expert knowledge and “know how” with detailed instructions for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I loved how there is a balance between the process and the practice as it presents a sense of how each technique can be applied.
Being from a Constructed Textile background I think this will be a great tool for my practice and research. I can’t wait to work through some of the methods!
Digital Textile design demonstrates how printed textile design is evolving through new technology and would be a great tool for designers, students and lecturers. There is a bloglaunched for the book with further details and examples…

The “Google Generation” of Today

The Guardian posted an interesting article on their website today about the use of virtual technologies within Universities.

The article stated that 75% of students are subscribed to a least one social network and spend at least four hours a day online. As technology is evolving rapidly and students are becoming more web savvy – will universities struggle to keep up?

With an increase in blogging, social networking and the phenomenon of new micro blogging site twitter, people are becoming better connected. This peer to peer exchange encourages a dialogue between people, allowing them to form communities to share knowledge, skills and expertise.

“Students aren’t just passive consumers of content. They need to be able to evaluate it and should be creating it themselves,” Brian Kelly, University of Bath
The article makes some interesting points and presents some example’s of digital media being used within universities in the UK.  There is also a link to a report on higher education by Sir David Melville. 

Burda Style’s New Projects

The open source sewing community  Burda Style are dividing the “How To” section on their platform under two new categories – projects and techniques.

They have blogged a sneak peak of the new “projects” section. The projects area will allow creations to be easily categorised under a number of different descriptions such as season, material, garment type and style…

All  techniques will be filed under a “learning” category.

burda style projects

I love the open source element of Burda Style as it networks  a global community of sewing enthusiasts ( with over 200,000 members)allowing them to share skills and expertise. The platform supports the novice through to the expert and allows users to communicate amongst themselves to support, critique and compliment each others creations. 

The new sections under construction look to improve the navigation and usability and Im excited to see the developments.

Computational Design

Nervous System have created a custom design tool to allow users to create bespoke products. Consumers can opt to buy ready designed jewellery or create their own. Each item is laser cut or produced through rapid prototyping methods by which all unique pieces can be manufactured at the same cost as cookie cutter ones. Therefore everything is affordable and ethically made.

They have also released their source code under the creative commons license to encourage others to adopt a similar approach. This interactive approach allows unique products to be created and as there is no definitive, final product, many designs can be created to allow for mass customisation.

Trendy Workshop is co-founded by Tristan de Montebello, a french fashion platform designed to allow users to design their own clothing and share their designs with other users within the trendy workshop community forum.

I think a lot of retailers are beginning to realise the potential in mass innovation v mass production. As consumers begin to use these co-creation methods, will we see a trend toward more personalised goods and services? I think so. I also think that the clothing will be regarded with deeper consideration as the consumer has invested time and effort into the design process…
However, as the clothing is being produced  China its makes me questions some elements of the supply chain?

Wear You Twitter

PaperTweet3d: Augmented Reality T-shirts from squidder on Vimeo.
This short little video has been produced by squidder using a FLARtoolKit.  This is an early proto-type of their concept check out their website for more info…