Week 4/5 Biomimicry Research

Biomimicry in fashion refers to the process of paralleling biological motifs and processes with wearable garments, in attempt to create an augmented relationship of the wearer to their environment. Transhumanism is an offshoot of the process of biomimicry, referring to the philosophical advocation of a transformed human condition where modification increases quality of life through enhanced genetics. It is difficult to separate the process of biomimicry with the purpose of transhumanism.

A recent jaw-dropper was Yuima Nakazato’s Spring Couture 2020 that has left indelible mark on audiences’ eyes. Inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s Astroboy manga, Nakazato brings about a line of otherworldly collection that came directly from the red planet. This collection utilises a specially brewed protein (biomaterial producer Spiber) that comes in different texture and form that is completely modifiable- this draws a new frontier for post-covid fashion as we abandon fast fashion. We look back at couture and attempt to bridge technology with the luxurious style of customizable fashion. Native to Nakazato’s repetoire of techniques, he utilises bio-smocking, which is a technique where he digitally control the shrinkage rate of the bio-fiber, fitting rectangle pieces that ensures efficient tailoring that brings little waste.

“Tales of the legendary phoenix have persisted across diverse cultural traditions since ancient times. The depiction of the phoenix in the works of Osamu Tezuka, flying through space and time, speaks to both the strength and folly of humanity and calls us to contemplate the preciousness of life. On a personal level, the tales of this legendary bird have deeply influenced my perspective on the contemporary meaning of beauty,” said designer Yuima Nakazato.


Week 3: Research Project Presentation

This week’s assignment is to present the research conducted on the course syllabus- wearable technology. One of the main themes we concluded from the presentation is the amalgamation of technology and nature as a source of inspiration for many designers. However, there is a contrasting difference of using technology & nature as an aesthetically-driven thematic inspiration as opposed to using technology & nature as a medium of conversation- both of which we would classify as wearable technology albeit of different intentions. We would use designers Iris van Herpen and Hussein Chalayan to draw the point across.

Hussein Chalayan is  eponymous with wearable technology, famous for his bold and inventive incorporation of mobility into fashion. In his iconic pieces “Robotic Dresses”, he takes inspiration from the eras of change within fashion and allows this collection to metamorphosize right in front of the audiences’ eyes. The dresses unravel, unzip or rise with fluid movements as each of them are embedded with highly technical drafting of motion technology. Chalayan’s work is representative of the notion of wearable technology, that being a conversation of how we engage in using newfound technology to subserve traditional fabric. We can parallel this conversation to a variety of topic we find contentious- such as modernisation and globalisation in the “Robotic Dresses” shown below. Certain archetypes of wearable technologies that speak directly through the robotics are aimed to have a substantial benefit on a certain problem that the designers aim to address, be it conceptual or actually viable. “Nomadism” is a popular theme highlighted within many wearable technology designers’ scope.

Hussein Chalayan 2007 Spring Summer Collection. (Above)

Other designers like Iris van Herpen tend to approach the idea of “wearable technology” differently. Herpens’ work uses technology as a tool to mould the design but in most cases the technology does not impart as much value in the due process of assimilating the garments effect. In other words, there lack an agent of serendipity within Herpens’ work (meaning technology), but in place stands an aesthetic value derived from said technology. An example of garments embedded with Herpen’s design DNA is the syntopia dress shown below. She uses technology to achieve impossibly tailored garments that are visually groundbreaking and causes audience to question their visual understanding of the pieces. Subcategories of wearable technology like these applies the “technology” in the preproduction process, using the visual cues as the firestarter of the concept instead.

Iris van Herpen Syntopia dress