Guest Editorial: The Future of Fashion
by Jasper Vanpoucke
With the Fall 2013 fashion shows in full swing, every fashion lover’s eyes are fixed on what the designers are sending down the runways for next Fall and Winter. I also catch myself visiting Style.com more regularly than usual, trying to get a glimpse of what we’ll all be wearing when days will get darker and colder again next year. But as I was scrolling through the collections and gazing at the steel blues and subtle pinks, I asked myself a question that rose above the usual “what colors and shapes are happening next season?”. Putting those things in perspective, I was wondering: how will the fashion industry as a whole evolve in the future?
As I started to look at the bigger picture, deliberately excluding color trends and designers using the Twenty Year Rule, I realized that there were only a minority of designers I could think of who are doing something completely new. For example, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is gathering fame by mixing fun with outright crazy. Proenza Schouler does genius things with self-designed patterns and fabric. Gareth Pugh is taking it to the more obscure and raw side of fashion. And the Dutch upcoming fashion designer Iris Van Herpen is a pioneer on using 3D printing to create truly wondrous statement pieces. But those are the few names that come to mind when I personally visualize examples of extraordinary innovation and genuine out-of-the-box thinking. These designers have a certain style that dissociates them from the mainstream fashion brands. Are they the future of fashion?
Let’s take a closer look to the interesting 3D printing. This is probably the technology that authors and screenwriters had in mind when they fantasized about fashion in the future. Just think about movies like ‘The Fifth Element’ or ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’. Back then, highly sculpted and very detailed garments that weren’t made out of ‘plain’ fabric were considered to be the wardrobe of every character in the distant future. Well, with 3D printing, future has arrived! I myself have always been obsessed with designers who use unconventional materials. For example, the wooden skirt of Hussein Chalayan and Franc Fernandez’s meat dress (yes, worn by Lady Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards) are forever engraved in my memory. So it’s even an understatement to say I’m thrilled with the arrival of 3D printing in fashion land. I’m looking forward to designers starting to experiment with this technology and incorporating it in their collections. Mark my words: marvelously innovative creations will result from combining the additive printing technology with the unlimited imagination of a fresh and daring designer. Will our hunger for innovation in the fashion industry finally be satisfied?
Could you even imagine what Alexander McQueen – may he rest in peace – would have done with the 3D printing technology? McQueen, the legend, who blemished a virginal white dress with yellow and black spray paint in front of a live audience. The innovator who intrigued us with a hologram of Kate Moss, floating elegantly in her ghostly organza dress. Alexander McQueen was a limelight, that pushed boundaries and brought new meaning to the perception of fashion. If faith would have turned out differently and he could be able to play with this new technology, I’m sure he would have created pure magic. If you even think about is, McQueen could be considered as the predecessor of 3D printing. Some designs he made come pretty close to some more recent designs that were made possible with 3D printing. For example, the Alexander McQueen ‘Dragon’ shoe he designed for the Spring Collection in 2010. The detailing and structure of that particular shoe are designed and developed so precisely, very similar to the newfound possibilities that 3D printing offers. You could have fooled me!
In the near future, when fashion designers have completely milked out every possible way to innovate with fabric, I would say it’s time to open our doors for 3d printing and embrace the fact that the possibilities for fashion will be infinite and ground-breaking!
To wrap things up, here’s a little thing to think about: if everybody will be able to design his/her own clothing and print it in 3d at the comfort of their own home, how will that affect the currently renowned fashion and couture houses? Will they be the first to introduce 3D printing to the client, but eventually perish when everybody will start using additive technology to become their own designer? Is the future of fashion a world without designer labels, where everybody expresses themselves through their own designs?
This guest post is written by Jasper Vanpoucke
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