Considerate Design at the London College of Fashion
Posted Mar 26 2010 3:03am
Covetable and considerate were the key words at the London College of Fashion’s open morning for the Considerate Design project. The Greenmystyle team were there to hear how high-tech engineering technology is being used alongside traditional craftsmanship to create beautiful bespoke pieces. Could this be the future of ethical fashion design? George Walker writes.
Bags moulded to the contours of your back; knitwear fitted to the curves of your torso; chainmail textile designs that hug to your shape: These were the first products to come out of the innovative and forward-looking Considerate Design project.
Professor Sandy Black from the London College of Fashion was keen to emphasise the distinct nature of this new venture. She said the notion of ‘personalised products’ made using new technologies would give ethical designers “a toolkit for fashion so they can be aware of the clothing life cycle.”
A key feature of the Considerate Design project is its focus on empowering ethical designers by making connections between fashion design and other disciplines. Led by Professor Sandy Black, the London College of Fashion has worked with the Cambridge University Engineering Design Centre, the Open University and both the Engineering and Physical Sciences and Arts and Humanities research councils.
Professor Sandy Black said: ” By fusing fashion, science and engineering, Considerate Design had developed new ways of creating personalised products.”
At the morning event we saw how body scan data, advanced knitting technology and rapid prototyping technologies were giving ethical designers new opportunities to produce commercially viable garments and accessories. (Although some of the technology was beyond our comprehension, the machine that produced ready-to-wear jumpers fitted to an individual’s body with just the press of a button certainly impressed us!)
The actual garments and accessories are split into three categories: Knit to Fit, Bespoke Bags and Evolving Textiles. The Knit to Fit range devised by Professor Sandy Black and Dr Penelope Watkins is the seamless knitwear range we spoke of. The interesting range of jumpers will be shown at the Science Museum as part of an exhibition on ethical design from June- December 2010. By using 3D body-mapping the jumpers can be made to fit any shape- a virtue that Considerate Design hopes to make their secret weapon to make a real impact on the fashion industry.
Our favourite items so far, however, have to be the range of bespoke bags. Each bag is ergonomically designed to fit the body, with a wonderful combination of soft leather and copper-fused fabrics made through experimental production techniques. Highly structured but with delicate detailing, we imagine these bags could sell well.
The Considerate Design project is focusing not just on ethical production and distribution methods, but on how designers can create products which can lure shoppers to buy more long-lasting, personalised fashions. Although Considerate Design is in its early stages, the notion of personalised fashion garments that are as individual as they are fashionable could well prove to be the ethical fashion industry’s secret weapon.