From the rise of fashion bloggers to the infection of "fast fashion", the democratization of fashion has certainly gone viral. As the upper-end of the fashion industry turns to technology to create textiles that can't easily be "knocked-off," one designer is turning to rapid fabrication and interactive software to create user-generated couture.
Is the era of the "auteur" genuinely over? If designer Mary Huang's latest project "Continuum" is a hint of what is to come, haute couture will be democratized into simple geometries via user-friendly software and patterns created with the click of a button.
Huang's vision of computational couture is compelling. The interface to sketch a dress, which is converted into a 3D model in real time, is quite fun. Play with it yourself at continuum fashion.
After you have modeled your dress, the image is turned into a flat pattern that can be cut and sewn. The pattern is available for free for download or you can pay to have someone else labor over the hundreds of tiny triangles that you will have to inevitably stitch together (I opt for the latter).
Still in development, the app in the near future will allow users to create accounts to save their measurements, create and save designs, purchase the physical dress, or download the cutting pattern for their design.
Currently three prototypes of the "D.dress", a computational deconstruction of the little black dress, have been made.
Unfortunately the shortcomings of the concept are all too obvious. The limitations of the technology here have shaped the final aesthetic outcome creating a rather awkwardly geometric and theatrical silhouette that won't be flattering on most.
Which leads me back to perhaps the most interesting question that this project raises.
How will software and tools architected by interactive/software designers be co-opted by the avante-garde to shape new silhouettes— ones ideally that aren't predicated by the software but by the ingenuity of the "auteur."
You can support Continuum by contributing to Kickstarter.