Tech

The Cloud Gate Becomes the Void Gate

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Anish Kapoor – Cloud Gate / before & after

The “Cloud Gate”, Anish Kapoor’s iconic public sculpture placed in Millennium Park of Chicago, recently encountered an unexpected creative twist. Issued by artist himself, the change could be regarded as extreme, controversial, trendy or deeply conceptual.

Kapoor covered the mirror-like surface with something that seems to be exactly the opposite – a deep black material called Vantablack. Vantablack, labeled as ‘the blackest black ever’, because it absorbs up to 99.96 percent of light (radiation in the visible spectrum), was initially developed by British company Surrey NanoSystems for military purposes and astronomy equipment. Anish Kapoor who gained exclusive rights in using this material for artistic purposes, says that he plans to explore it further and review many of his famous art pieces within the next years.

The project itself is challenging not just through the way contemporary art meets high-technology, but also in the way it blends with the work of an artist like Anish Kapoor. While the idea of an artist adhering to a specific ‘color’ and making it ‘his own’ created a buzz around the art community, I guess this is not the main attraction here. However, it has happened before (see the Yves Klein blue – IKB).

The project of reformulating referential art works, so well ingrained both in artist’s track record and in public consciousness, this is really challenging. I love the perspective of iconic art pieces seen as work in progress, projects that can be periodically revised, evolving in new unexpected ways. I love the idea that something like the Cloud Gate might not remain forever a mirror of the clouds, and one fine day might become “a void of nothingness”.

Prêt-à-Template

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Beta Weiand, a 32 years old fashion designer from Brazil, has developed an interesting project called Prêt-à-Template. Completing her studies in Fashion Design (2006/Brazil), Textile Engineering (MA 2008/Portugal) and Fashion Communication (2010/Milan-Italy), Beta Weiand currently works as a fashion teacher. She had the idea to develop a fashion drawing application and after 2 years of hard working, she and her team have launched the Prêt-à-Template App in April 2014.

What is it all about?

Prêt-à-Template is a Fashion Sketch App designed to help the fast induction of fashion drawings. Most of designers or fashion students really enjoy hand-drawing – that’s true. But there are situations when you have to develop ideas and collections very fast, and you have to decide about fabrics and cuts in a minute. I guess in those moments, a fashion drawing template could help a lot. The App we’re talking about reproduces on screen the design that would be held on paper. Using specific guidelines (TEMPLATES) fashion ideas are easy to develop so that anyone can transform his/her iPad into a fashion sketchbook and portable portfolio. There are many types of templates available: body templates for men, women, teenagers or babies, technical templates (men + women), plus sizes or maternity body templates, underwear and accessory templates (shoes and bags), and even templates for pets. There are also several tutorials displayed on the Prêt-à-Template website. The application is FREE and ready to download from App Store.

Talking about her project, Beta Weiand says: The first idea came up in one of my classes: the matter was fashion hand drawing and I had to display in a big board how to draw the different types of collar, lapels, sleeves, dresses, skirts in a size that everybody could see… the result was awful so I searched another way to present it: I found in the iPad my solution: with one of the many sketches apps I could connect the tablet into a projector!!! and then: the problem was solved and an idea of Prêt-à-Template was born”. 

The Goal of Prêt-à-Template is also to become a platform where the sketches could be transformed into real products. That’s why Prêt-à-template project seeks, in partnership with fashion companies, to promote and host fashion contests. For instance, if a company wants a new solutions for a particular product, the Prêt-à-Template team designs a customized template of this product.

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I wanted to find out a few more things. So I’ve made a short interview with Beta Weiand, the brain behind the project:

 

You have said that the idea of developing the template App came up while you were teaching fashion drawing. But how the Prêt-à-Template actually did start to take shape as a project?

The moment I realized the opportunity to create the App I started to search about drawing applications (in general) and I began to think how the tools would assist in the development of fashion drawings: as the scissors tool for example:

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Usually there is a lot of symmetry in clothing and with the help of this tool the user needs only draw half of the design. Or the sewing thread, a simple dashed line that makes all the difference when you need to represent the stitching…

I also conducted a thorough survey about fashion illustration and fashion templates: studying the position and proportions of guidelines in order to assist the quick reasoning of fashion drawing process. In 5 months, without understanding anything about programming, I designed the whole layout interface of the App, tools, templates, patterns, website…  and just after that (with the first version of the project in my hands) I started searching for partnership to make it happen.

 

Tell me a little about your creative team. Who are your partners?

By referral from a friend, I got to Belogik – a young programmers company in southern Brazil (Porto Alegre) that straightaway embraced the App idea! It took us more or less one year of programming and testing before launching the beta version of Prêt-à-Template App (in April 2014) . Today we are a team of 4 hardworking partners: Bruno Werberich and Carlos Pretto – programming, Guilherme Desimon – Web, and me – in charge of interface design. being also CEO.

 

Who are your (possible) customers?

We believe this App serves as a tool to the entire fashion creation chain: starting from students/teachers, practitioner’s designers, industry, even retailers and buyers… to anyone who is passionate about fashion.  Drawing is the first step of communicate a fashion idea –  What we did was making easy the process by the use of the mobile device itself, and thereby:

* Carry with you your own fashion sketchbook /portfolio;

* Not wasting paper;

* Finger touch (with no need to carry a variety of art supplies);

* Guidelines to help the rapid understanding of the body/goods proportions;

* Tools for applicability in fashion design;

* Easy to send/share and archive

 

You also provide coaching for the use of the App. Tell me about your workshops. Did you get a positive feedback?

The workshops are the most efficient and fast feedback: is the time where we can capture/realize the productive capacity of our tool! Working live we are able to understand the way people develop illustration, the difficulties/facilities coming on the way, and therefore we keep improving constantly… that’s why we hope expand the workshops internationally soon!

And YES we are having an incredible positive feedback! Not just mentioned as hereinbefore, as from users all over the world – through our website contact they write about what they love, what could be improved as well new ideas for future plans! (After almost a year from release there are Prêt-à-Template users in over 120 countries). This App evolves alongside to them.

 

Have you hosted any contest so far?

No, we haven`t yet, although hopefully soon we will announce the opening of the first one – we must say that we have high demand of users who subscribe every day on our website.

 

What’s next? How do you plan to extend the project?

Next step will be the launching of the iPhone version of Prêt-à-Template: celebrating one Year of our App on the Apple Store (April 2015). People have been asking about it since always, we are taking longer to launch because first we want to be sure to give the best arrangement of the tools and this way to make the user to have a pleasant experience in designing on such a small screen device…

About our plan to extend it:  We believe in the collaborative creative development of fashion drawing and therefore Prêt-à-Template will seek to expand our platform at this level.

 

Thank you, Beta. We wish you luck in all your projects which sound really exciting!

Flashback Outfits

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Recently, while I took a photo to a friend of mine who was wearing a sport blouse adorned with a reflective grid print, I noticed the photo resulted was all black except of the grid which turned white. I thought that was cute and I shared it on Instagram. And I have also learnt what happens when you use reflective items in photography.

A similar phenomenon inspired the Betabrand‘s Chris Holmes flashback collection. While sporting reflective clothes during several performances, DJ Chris Holmes noticed that some photos taken during the shows were ruined because of reflection effects. But that was also the starting point for developing a series of fashion items designed to ruin paparazzi pictures. That is how flashback’collection was born.

The line contains five pieces; ‘photobomber’, ‘illuminati jacket and pants’, ‘silver screen scarf’ and the ‘halo hats’. The fabric used was coated with glass nanospheres. The highly reflective garments became some kind of ‘magic kit’ able to help people who do not want their picture taken.  Basically, we deal with a 2-in-1 concept: regular clothes on a daily basis + invisible wearer when captured in photographs. That’s a smart, funny and simple idea – I like it!

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Betabrand, Chris Holmes – reflective betabrand flashback clothing / images via designboom.com

1st 3D Printed Dress

Definitely, the technique of 3D print is a hot topic. Some analysts anticipate the third industrial revolution. We already talked about rapid-prototyping on Fashion Salad, especially related to shoe design (designers such as Iris Van Herpen, Andreia Chaves, Julian Hakes and Marloes ten Bhomer already developed quality avant-garde products, well received both in museums and on the fashion market).

But applying the process of 3D printing to a larger category of garments is still problematic. The 3D printed gown, developed by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti promisses a new age for the fashion industry. The product was mediatized as the first full 3D print garment. In reality, Iris van Herpen already did it (remember her rapid-prototyled couture-pieces?).

In Manhattan, Dita Von Teese recently modelled a specially printed nylon mesh dress for a private runway event. The gown was designed in collaboration by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti and printed on a 3-D printer at Shapeways. The garment was designed to fit Dita’s body, moving and flowing on her famous curves. The mesh is a smart choice because it allows flexibility, which is a great achievement compared to previous attempts, still rigid, therefore impossible to wear on the daily basis. Bitonti used Von Teese’s measurements, building a 3-D model of the dress and adapting Schmidt’s original sketch to fit her body using Maya, the high-end design software used for commercial projects including architecture, product manufacturing, and animated movies. Then in Rhino, another design software that allows for precise surface manipulation, he detailed 2,633 independent rings, or links, that formed the body of the dress. The whole thing was laser sintered on an EOS P350 in 17 parts which were then manually assembled.

Blowing away traditional design methods, 3D printing reveals an entirely new concept of garments production and marketing. Rejecting the hands-on manufacturing, it goes for digital designed combined with machine made. Imagine the impact this could have on the fashion industry, currently based on cheap manufacturing and sweatshops. The development of the 3D scan techniques allows the engineers to design garments on custom fit, so we could rapidly get a costume to fit our particular body.

Indeed, there are many issues to discuss at this point: the proper materials to use (we would like some body friendly materials), the correct price and other technical details as the closure system of such a garment.  But I guess, the big move was already done – they managed to “print’ a wearable garment!

This sounds quite exciting, but, in the same time  it’s a little bit scaring.

 

images via wired.com

Playin’ Fashion – Playin’ Invisible

I recently became more interested in shoe design. It’s not that I like  shoes more than clothes, but in the world of shoes, the concept of new design is much stronger, while 3D printing technology opens new horizons. What I find absolutely fascinating: Marloes Ten Bhomer, Julian Hakes, Terra Plana and, now, Andreia Chaves.

I looked at these shoes many times, and I did not manage to post anything about them. In fact, I don’t have many comments. The designer is Andreia Chaves and the objects themselves are sensational. The “Invisible” project is a study of optical effects, smartly applied in shoe design. The result is a brand new urban object, playing chameleon – borrowing the traces of the environment, through a wonderful game of mirrors. There is also another version of this project called “Naked”, which keeps only the skeleton of the shoe. (I prefer the “invisible” one; I like the concept of changing surface).

The technology is fascinating and the future of fashion cannot be conceived separately from it. No wonder that a Japanese engineer invented an invisible coat. Creativity and technological innovation will soon replace nostalgia and automatism which still governs contemporary fashion system. I wonder, in the near future, who would  pick a vintage scarf or a piece of cloth soaked with history?