Digital Visions for Fashion + Textiles explores how digital technologies have transformed fashion and textiles design
Posted by Vicki Fong on Mar 11, 2013
Vicki Fong, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Digital Fashion, at University of East London reviews Digital Visions for Fashion + Textiles: Made in Code by Sarah E. Braddock Clarke and Jane Harris, published by Thames & Hudson
Digital Visions for Fashion + Textiles: Made in Code is a valuable book for anyone interested in understanding how computing has reinvented and changed the way fashion and textiles is expressed. Certainly one of the most obvious qualities of the book is the quantity and quality of its colour illustrations.
The authors, Sarah E. Braddock Clarke and Jane Harris, are leading researchers and practitioners in advanced textiles and fashion. Sarah E. Braddock Clarke is Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design and Performance Sportswear Design at University College Falmouth. She also works as a consultant/curator. She has co-authored numerous books on advanced textiles and their application to fashion and performance sportswear, including Techno Textiles and SportsTech published by Thames and Hudson.
Jane Harris is a consultant and Professor of Digital Imaging Design at Kingston University London. She was previously director of the Textile Futures Research Centre at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London.
Digital Visions for Fashion + Textiles: Made in Code introduction explains how the invention of the Jaquard loom in 1801 initiated in the modern computing revolution; it highlights some of the early adopters of computer technology and identifies its practical benefits in addition to the ease of creative experimentation. This introduction systematically paves the way to the main focus of the book: the creative and innovative use of Computer Aided Design and Production Processes in fashion and textiles.
The 240 page book is divided into three unequal parts; Digitally Implicit, Designers in Code (the largest of the three), and The Future of Digitals Past, each sub-divided into bite-sized chapters.
I found this hardback book well-presented and its format very accessible. I felt that the 429 colour illustrations were well balanced and successfully captured the essence of each practitioner’s work. The main written content was informative, engaging and over all very accessible.
In Digitally Implicit the authors provide a brief history in how the mid-sixties emergence of new technologies helped to instigate a new aesthetic within the creative industries. It explains the benefits provided by digital technologies and how this has changed the way designers work today; presenting examples from the arts and fashion and interior design. It describes how the continuous development of these technologies kept pushing creative boundaries further into exciting and innovative realms, such as 3D imaging, film and wearable electronics.
Designers in Code makes up half of the book; it contains individual profiles of twenty-two of the most forward-thinking practitioners including of course Hussin Chalayan, Issey Miyake but also Basso & Brooke, Prada, Japanese Textile company Nuno, artist Peter Struycken and many more. The wide range of visuals presented provides multiple perspectives and gives a visually comprehensive overview of their work. It is accompanied an insightful written description of each designers approach reviewing their concepts and design and production methods.
In the final part of the book, The Future of Digitals Past, the authors try to address the question: Having already radically altered and hybridized many working processes, what does the digital future offer the fashion and textiles sector? Here the reader is invited to consider the possibilities for future developments by providing thought-provoking examples of innovation within the creative industry. This exploration is divided into four categories: Coded material, Meta Skins, Data Touch, Digital Consumer, Future Worlds.
I found the book to be informative and inspirational. I particularly appreciated the authors’ chosen examples. By not focusing exclusively on fashion and textiles, their arguments become more relevant to other industries and help to map the general progress of technology. The authors have compiled a stimulating selection of images and informative text, which will appeal to a large audience. I feel that this book is attractive enough to grace any coffee table and that it will be useful to anyone looking for a comprehensive understanding of how digital technologies are reshaping fashion and textiles.
Digital Visions for Fashion + Textiles: Made in Code is a substantial and insightful book, showcasing a selection of inspiring practitioners from ‘household names, to early pioneers, and the more independent, avant-garde individuals’. The content is positively overwhelming, and I know that many will pick it up time and time again. It will inevitably inspire current and future designers, education and industry. It challenges the traditional ideas of fashion and textiles. Its provocative conclusion The Future of Digital Past, leaves the reader in suspense trying to imagine what the future might hold.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It is suitable for students, designers and anyone who has an interest in digital technologies and design.
This is a book that has both style and substance.
Digital Visions for Fashion + Textiles: Made in Code
By Sarah E. Braddock Clarke and Jane Harris
Thames and Hudson Ltd
Hardcover, 240 pages, 429 illustrations
2.5 x 20.3 x 30.5 cm