Mortiz Waldemeyer

I have been meaning to do a blog entry about Mortiz Waldemeyer’s work for some time. I first heard him present his work during a keynote at the ISEA09 event in Belfast this summer… I was lucky enough to hear him present again at Central Saint Martins a few weeks ago, which was even more engaging and inspiring!

Mortiz trained as an engineer at Kings College in London and began his journey working for Philips at their Innovation Lab… 
He is the technical “know how” behind many high end fashion and interior collaborative projects that can truly be defined as “cutting edge”.  The projects were introduced with an explanation of the original concept, the methods of production and a concluded with reflection of how the end outcome performed and was received. I thought this was a really inspiring and insightful way to present such unique creations.

For example an interactive LED chandelier embellished with swarovski crystals, designed to display text messages.

High end fashion collaborations  working with the likes of Hussein Chalayan  to produce the 20 years of fashion collection and a following project invited him to make a video dress) concept reality…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A project with Zaha Hadid (pictured above) to design LED technology into Zaha’s futuristic kitchen interiors. 

 

He has received commissions from the music industry to integrate laser technology into clothing for Mika’s music video and was recently invited to design a laser jacket for Bono’s stage performance. 

A lot of his project’s have been heavily financed and supported by the likes of swarovski without which it would have been impossible to produce as the level of manpower, technical skill and material cost exceeds traditional production processes above and beyond!

The projects were introduced with an explanation of the original concept, the methods of production and a concluded with reflection of how the end outcome performed and was received. I thought this was a really inspiring and insightful way to present such unique creations. 

I was blown away by the level of skill, technical ability, methodical thinking and innovation invested in each of these projects… He uses LED technology is alternative ways and really pushes the boundaries to help others realise a concept and make it a reality.
For further explorations check out his blog or follow his tweets.

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SHOWstudio Taking Liberties

 

SHOWstudio have collaborated with Liberty to capture fashion street style via a store window, live thread and you the public.
This project is part of the SHOWstudio Fashion Revolution Exhibition. The photographs will be uploaded to the SHOWstudio website and catalogued for your viewing pleasure. Fashion designer Gareth Pugh will judge the overall winning street fashion look representational of ” a unique sense of personal style”. The chosen winner will be awarded £500 of Liberty vouchers.
To participate get yourself down to the Carnaby Street windows of Liberty. The SHOWstudio Fashion Revolution exhibition is showing at Somerset House until 20Th Dec 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHOWstudio have collaborated with Liberty to capture fashion street style via a store window, live thread and you the public.
This project is part of the SHOWstudio Fashion Revolution Exhibition. The photographs will be uploaded to the SHOWstudio website and catalogued for your viewing pleasure. Fashion designer Gareth Pugh will judge the overall winning street fashion look representational of ” a unique sense of personal style”. The chosen winner will be awarded £500 of Liberty vouchers.
To participate get yourself down to the Carnaby Street windows of Liberty. The SHOWstudio Fashion Revolution exhibition is showing at Somerset House until 20Th Dec 2009.

 

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.

The Ethical Fashion Show

 

A few weekends ago I visited the annual Ethical Fashion Show, an event hosted in the heart of Paris at the Tapis Rouge (one of Paris’ oldest department stores). Whilst there I attended a workshop facilitated by Fashioning an Ethical Industry.

The workshop invited a series of speakers to explore ethics within fashion, the presentations alternated between French and English (headsets were given out to tune into translations). The workshop was action packed and covered a range of topics for example:

Social responsibility  – highlighting the role of the consumer and what alternatives are available. How do we engage with industry to promote ethical production strategies? 

Student awareness – what is the role of Universities and students? 

The workshop was designed to promote ethical literacy and practice and the audience was comprised of students, tutors, designers and industry. The speakers introduced a variety of past and present projects tailored to address these issues. 

The Univeristy of Delamore ran a practical workshop connecting their students directly to industry. Their objective was to demonstrate considerations for the design and development of “sustainable garments”. The students were divided into groups focusing on different areas such as social, use and concept. The students were linked directly to IPC, a Factory School in Honduras and worked collaboratively to deliver end outputs which was a series of garments. Visit their blog for further information. Ethicalfashionproject.wordpress.com

I liked that their project was a tangible example of design interventions that were both functional and deliverable… there was also end outputs so the theories were met with practice.

IFM in Paris were also working directly with industry through a global collaboration project linking Paris, FIT New York and China. This live one year project allowed the students to meet at each location once and work to experience every aspect of the supply chain. This offers the students a real time perspective through a hands on learning strategy. It looked like this really informed their decision making process and promoted a sustainable actions.
Fashioning an Ethical Industry delivered an inspirational presentation with an introduction to what they do and their resources . Visit FEI website to access these resources there is an educational handbook available and lots of papers and pod casts available to download.

They advised delegates to engage with others via social networks this can help build a dialogue around “sustainable fashion” but also link up institutions, students, designers and industry. I think identifying opportunities to connect and promote global conversations which can lead to exciting collaborations through thinking and practice.
The Ethical Fashion show itself was a fantastic showcase of ethical fashion that was both functional and desirable. The designers were on hand to introduce the thinking behind their collections, explain the production process and answer any questions. 

 

Hacking Design


The RSA will be hosting an event exploring the notion of “design-hacking” a term used to offer alternatives to traditional design, production and partcipation. This event will be chaired byScott Burnham (author of the RSA Design & Society pamphlet on design-hacking) and invites Dr Otto von Busch “haute-couture heretic and DIY- demangogue”.

Dr Otto Von Busch
 recently completed a PhD which combined a series of projects and experiments to explore fashion activism. His approach invites participants to actively engage in the fashion system and he has created a digital platform called >self_passage< which offers open source projects and proposed solutions. This is an excellent resource for designerspractitioners, researchers and fashion DIY enthusiast’s.

Event Description
As brave designers embrace this new frontier spirit. Design jam sessions of professional and amateur in cities and festivals all over the developed world unlock a creative energy that has, in fact, been ever-present in favelas and rural villages where necessity has always been the mother of invention.

Is design-hacking merely another post-modern phase in the history of design, or does it reveal a civic ingenuity and resourcefulness that a century and a half of industrially-fed consumerism has masked?

I have just booked tickets and really look forward to attending this event. I will update a new posting to summarise the proceedings.

Book Tickets or Further Information

Sandra Backlund – Slow Stitches in Time

I have been observing and admiring the work of fashion knitwear designer Sandra Backlund for some time and I think its a good representation of what it means to combine the words ‘slow’ and ‘fashion’ together in the same sentence. I have been thinking a lot lately about about the word ‘slow’ and its relationship to fashion.

Sandra Backlund studied at Beckmans College of Design, Stockholm and she formed her own label in 2004 immediately after graduating. Her knits are all produced by hand and she constructs the sculptural forms as she works, allowing herself the freedom to improvise as and when she likes. She begins her process with the same patterns blocks and then builds upon this structure to create new 3-Dimensional forms. Each piece takes hours upon hours of hand knitting skills, she is said to spend up to 20 hours per day locked away in her studio knitting and produces two amazing ten piece collections per year!

Her work is constantly changing, shifting and re-forming and I am truly inspired that each piece is crafted by hand. She stated in an interview with BLEND that she was taught to knit as a child by her grandmother and often gets her mother to help out when pressed towards deadlines.

I love the idea of skills being handed down between generations and re-interpreted. Backlund says “my work is very personal to me… I am fascinated by all the ways you can highlight, distort and transform the natural silhouette of the body with clothes and accessories… The handicraft process and the handmade feeling is also significant. I do experiment a lot with different materials and techniques… but its through my heavy wool collage knitting that I have found the ultimate way to express myself. ” The time, precision and quality invested in each piece can make it very difficult to categories her collections – are they truly fashion wearables or art forms? And how do you market or put a price tag on such a high level of innovation and craftsmanship? She could be labeled as a knitting visionary as she pushes the boundaries between traditional hand craft by creating fashion forward garments that are truly iconic and cutting edge. When asked to explain her thought process she explains there is no formula to it… she just experiments through the stitches. Once the panels are formed she pins and constructs them in front of a mirror to shape and form. It’s an interesting discussions as sometimes designers find it difficult to explain their method behind the process, it is an intrinsic part of the design process that is unexplainable and can not be taught.

I think investing lots of time and energy allows us to perfect and reflect a technique but I think there is also a little magic behind the new thoughts or concepts that emerge. I love Sandra’s work. I have linked to her website to view the 2009 collections. If only we could all use hand knitting in such an inspiring way we would have the answers to slow fashion at our fingertips!

Fashioning an Ethical Industry Annual Conference 2010

Call for Academic/Research Papers and Student Projects Fashioning an Ethical Industry International Conference: Fast Forward Supported by the Northumbria University School of Design 2nd and 3rd March 2010 London Fashion both reflects and influences social change.In a time when we are increasingly concerned with the impact of the industry on people and the planet, students need to be equipped with the tools to design the way we make and consume fashion differently.

Fashioning an Ethical Industry (an EU funded project taking place in the UK, Netherlands, Austria and Poland) is part of a growing global movement within fashion education that is addressing how the business of fashion impacts on garment workers. This two day international conference will build upon the success of previous national events and the publication of the Sustainable Fashion: A Handbook for Educators. It will bring together educators, industry experts, academics and selected students to explore how fashion can be taught to inspire responsibility for the rights of the workers making our clothes.

Alongside their set programme of speakers with expertise in the industry, they will provide the opportunity for the presentation of academic research papers and for students to present their project or dissertation work at the conference. Each paper will be presented in a 30 minute session. Double sessions of one hour are available. All of the papers and projects will be presented in a workshop setting and the presenter should allow time for participants to comment and contribute to the session.

Academic/Research Papers: Papers are welcomed that address the following or related themes: Social responsibility in the garment industry (with an emphasis on garment workers’ rights) Teaching ethics within fashion education Approaches to education for sustainable development relevant to fashion education Student Presentations: Students are invited to apply for the opportunity to showcase their project, design or dissertation work which addresses social responsibility in the garment industry. If you are a tutor please encourage your students to make a submission. Procedure: Academics and students interested in participating in this event should submit an abstract by 30th October 2009 of 500‐700 words to liz@fashioninganethicalindustry.org. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed by a committee chaired by Doug Miller Inditex/ITGLWF Professor in Ethical Fashion at University of Northumbria. Final papers should be 5-6000 words long. The papers will be published online on the Fashioning an Ethical Industry website under a creative commons license and may be published more formally. Important Dates: Abstract submission deadline: 30th October 2009 Feedback on submissions: 29th November 2009 Final paper/project submission deadline: 30th January 2010 Final Conference: 2nd/3rd March 2010 For more information visit their website.