Showing Fashion, an interactive experience
The runway, the place of choice to see and show fashion, does not deliver any information about the history and background of the garments shown. Consumers however, are increasingly demanding facts about the environmental and social impact of the goods they intend to purchase. Earlier this year the CCA fashion school decided to address this problem with a first of its kind collaboration between its Fashion and Interaction Design departments.
The idea was proposed to design students by Amy Williams, CCA fashion chair. Assisted by their instructors Scott Minneman and Wendy Ju, MFA Design students Andrew Haskin and Kathleen Moynahan rose to the challenge with the help of fellow Visual Design student Ryan Luse.
Read full interview and watch the Video below…
Kathleen, Andrew can you explain what you created for the CCA fashion show?
Andrew: The purpose of this project was to use technology and our skills as interaction designers to help people learn about the approach of the CCA’s fashion designers, the materials and processes they used to create their garments. We wanted people to look beyond the final products and to be aware of the designers’ intentions. This had to be done in an accessible, tangible and delightful way. We wanted to extend the experience of showing fashion, capturing more time before and after the show.
Kathleen: During the original brain-storming we imagined a total of four experiences for this project. Due to practical constraints we realized two on the night of the annual show. Before the show, the audience had the opportunity to interact with the materials used in the students’ collections through a fiducial piece called Swatch Watch. By scanning the fiducial (a QR code-like mark) attached to a swatch of fabric, relevant information about the material and how it was used by the designer was displayed onto a screen.
During the show itself, we created Digital Catwalk: a projection onto the ceiling of the tent of animated images generated from real time video capture of the runway. We worked with each fashion designer to customize the visualization and capture the colors, shapes, and feelings of their collections.
How did you decide what the project was to achieve?
Andrew: We imagined different ways the audience could experience the collections. Mainly we wanted to tell the story of designers’ processes and why they chose the materials they worked with. There was an additional idea of garnering audience feedback during the show, and also that of pushing out live information to the public. They were exciting ideas but in the end they didn’t make the cut.
What was the role of Ryan Luse?
Kathleen: Ryan Luse is a member of Sputnik, a student print design team. His role was to establish a visual design style. Having that role covered by Ryan meant that we as interaction designers could spend more time doing what we do: design and create a powerful and meaningful overall experience for the audience.
When did you feel the project was really coming together?
Andrew: We knew we had something awesome on our hands when we did a large-scale “paper prototype” of our projection mapping. A lot of passers-by stopped and wanted to move in front of the camera to see the abstract visualization of their image and movements.
What has this project taught you?
Andrew: I was surprised and warmed by how well our ideas were received and supported. It makes the idea of collaborating with other disciplines very exciting. Of course, there’s also the experience that comes with creating a project on such scale. I think it proved to us that we are able to innovate in new spaces. All it takes is a little effort and reaching out to the right people.
Kathleen: I would love to keep creating experiences like this for live events. This was a rare opportunity. The project helped me understand all of the aspects I need to consider when creating an experience like this. It really appealed to my artistic side and I hope it will support further explorations in the realm of real time technology experiences.
What did you enjoy about this collaboration?
Kathleen: This project was the perfect challenge to stretch our skills and our ideas. Andrew is super talented and I was curious to see what we could create together.
Andrew: This was the first project of its kind for our school, as well as for Kathleen and I. Neither of us have done anything like this. Based on our own observations and the feedback we have received thus far, I would say that the results we achieved met our expectations. Both Kathleen and I really see this as a jumping off point for greater work and collaboration to happen. I think we proved that it could be done. It was also a lot of fun getting involved with and learning more about the fashion industry.
What was the experience of collaborating with Fashion students?
Andrew: I really valued the time spent with the fashion design students, it made the whole experience really special. I enjoyed hearing their stories. I hope we have been able to enhance those stories through our work.
Kathleen: I totally agree the fashion graduates were fascinating. I think they were happy to have this special experience to support their work. Being thanked by them really completed the whole project for me.
What remains of what you have created that night?
Kathleen: I hope happy memories for all those present!
Andrew: The website we created is online and can be found at ccafashion.com. We have also produced for Modeconnect video footage documenting the interactive installations during the event itself. The programming code used to create those installations is also posted online, freely available to those looking to delve further into finding out how we did what we did.
Kathleen’s website: http://www.lightfast.ca
Get the code! https://github.com/mary13/digitalcatwalk