How can computer aided design & lasercutting be used to create a new zero-waste fashion aesthetic through textile innovation?
‘Metabolism’ is inspired by the conceptual framework of 1960s Japanese architectural movement of the same name and explores the idea of connectedness of individuals within a larger system. Taking inspiration from Metabolism’s reconfigurable architecture, a similar sustainable approach to fashion with a focus on zero-waste fashion is realised.
An innovative, reconfigurable, aesthetically novel as well as zero-waste modular box textile manipulation was developed for the collection, together with a zero-waste tab-interlocking seam system. Most of the garments in the collection feature one or both of these textiles allowing for easy disassembly and reassembly of complete garments or customization to sections according to the wearer’s preference. The re-configurability of these textiles means user participation is encouraged, and together with the possibility for disassembly, they promote slower consumption. Staying further true to the sustainable approach, these textiles were achieved by the use of laser to cut into multi-layer bonded fabric, allowing the collection to successfully offer a more sustainable alternative in fashion where garments are no longer cut and stitched, but the pattern pieces interlock together in many different ways much like Lego pieces, without need for sewing, hence saving energy and increasing usability, all while satisfying the wearer’s needs for longer.
Conceptually, ‘Metabolism’ stands for the embrace of technology in the pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle with untainted nature. Aesthetically, the collection fuses robust sculptural silhouettes with intricate details from the zero-waste textiles. Oversized pieces are juxtaposed with softer, more feminine pieces in organza and jersey. Further highlighting the fusion of nature and technology, the collection offers an exquisitely fresh colour palette consisting of both nature inspired greens and blues and technology inspired silver, grey and reflective silver. The result is a novel aesthetic that blends futuristic and comical elements with a sustainable twist.
The Metabolism movement formed in Japan in 1960 and was based on an ambitious vision of accelerated urbanism and advanced technology existing in parallel with an untainted nature, i.e. a self sufficient techno-utopia. The key element to the movement was the use of identical modular units for the construction of whole cities.
Research & Development
The basis of the zero-waste textile techniques I developed was modularity and their successful application to clothing was achieved with custom-designed material for each technique.
By bonding together layers of textile materials with very different individual properties, I experimented with different combinations of material properties to come up with materials with the specific qualities that supported my modular designs.
For example, bonding two layers of sheer lightweight organza cloth together did not result in just a two times thicker organza, but gave a thin plastic-like material where the glue had set in the ‘holes’ of the loose weave, with the organza acting as structural support (a process similar to that in 3D printing). Bonding soft cushiony material (e.g. neoprene) with a layer of organza resulted in a fabric with one side soft, appropriate as the inside of a garment, while the other side was much harder, good for protecting against the elements, despite overall having a flexible, wearable quality with small amount of stretch.
As interlocking is the main mechanism used to connect the modular units, the materials of choice balance stiffness with wearability in order to support the structure and weight of the final forms.
Sample swatch - techniques tested include: bonding, hand felting, needle felting, silk screen printing (as adhesive to glue layers together in certain areas, and also as design element), reflective highlighting (with reflective ink), lasercutting, layering, interlocking and so on.
Paper drape experiments on mannequin using tracing paper and plain matte paper with various slits, cut-out holes and folds
Interlocking box shaped textile created from an original tessellating pattern of identical units that fit like jigsaw puzzle pieces without creating off-cut waste.
Textiles inspired by the metabolist Nakagin Capsule Tower by Kurokawa (@Arcspace)
SLIT & TAB TEXTILE
The 'slit & tab' system allows a whole piece of fabric to be cut into individual or continuous strips with slits and tabs for interlocking. When placed on a body, the strips then interlock together creating different kinds of volume around the body based on which tabs interlock. It is a zero-waste technique as there is no offcut waste created in the cutting process due to the mirror-engineered design, and any leftover strips from one garment can be used for the next garment as the strip widths are standardized.
Further zero-waste form manipulation around the mannequin/human body