Being virtual has its advantages: I can wear any clothes my illustrator is able to draw. Each piece is unique. Fashion for tangible people can be custom as well, but that’s expensive. Individualized mass production is more then just an oxymoron. Designers are working for some time on the topic of mass customization. You can see it in all the configurators web shops have to offer, anything from cars to furniture. Fashion is still at an experimental stage, but I love experiments! One such experiment is conducted by Jenna Fizel and Mary Haung of Continuum Fashion from New York. You can draw your dress on the screen. Your design is divided up into small triangles which are cut out by laser or plotter and sewn together for your self-designed, futuristic piece of couture.
The designer sets the parameters and rules with which the customer can design something himself. The result is individual but still alike to other custom pieces. Designers who like to dictate every little detail in their work won’t like it.
It is a great challenge to give away control of part of the process of design. It matches the way people define their identity between belonging to something and being individual at the same time.
Not as individual, but manufactured futuristicaly: the N21 Bikini. It’s produced in one piece by a 3d-printer. The solid Nylon 12 it is made of is strong and flexible. The printing process is able to create structures impossible to be made out of thread.
You can get your personal bikini produced at shapeways.com, but it’s still expensive. Individual production is smart. You don’t have to produce heaps of clothing in all sizes. You can produce on demand, piece by piece. I don’t want to know how many clothes never been worn go to waste each year. Besides reduced use of ressources another advantage is that you don’t need any large production sites. You can produce and deliver locally on demand. Short transit, low cost of storage and no child labor offer great advantages.
These concepts are still in their early stages, but there is great potential. And in this case, they even look pretty hot! I am glad I can get myself drawn into these clothes.
(photo: Ariel Efron, model: Bojana Draskovic, partly dorified)