The Place of Product Design and Innovation in the Fashion Industry
Ever heard of the term “fashion repeats itself?” The fashion world has hands down become one of the most difficult industries and markets in trying to come out with new or fresh designs that haven’t been seen or done before. With designers having to be “inspired” by past designers or remodeling and redesigning past concepts into slightly more “modern” styles, it has become harder to see more authentically new fashion trends or designs come out onto runways. However, all hope is not lost! In the past decade there have been new and emerging designers that bring unique twists and ideas to the fashion industry, combining not only their expertise in fashion, but their background with technology and science with their fashion designs. Below are a list of our favorite innovative fashion designers and their unique and creative ideas that they’ve brought to the fashion world.
Iris Van Herpen
Known for bringing both science and digital technology into her fashion designs, Iris Van Herpen brought together two different elements of design to create unique styles and technological techniques to the runway. Continually pushing boundaries in fashion, Iris Van Herpen invents new ideas into her fashion by using traditional and radical materials into the construction of her looks. Using science with fashion not only has won her countless awards in the fashion industry, but has separated her from other designers and put her in her own lane where her aesthetic focuses on wearable art. A great example of how her fashion transcends into the technology and design field is using 3D printing technology. Herpen has changed the fashion industry by not just making fashion about clothes but expanding it through the integration of different creative fields such as technology, product design and science.
Stepping into the fashion industry, Neri Oxman is an architect, designer, and professor from MIT Media Lab. Similar to Herpen, Oxman has broken boundaries in fashion by incorporating different scientific fields in her art and fashion in order to make not only a new and unique looks to her creations, but concepts that embody certain meanings and ideas that she communicates through her work. Oxman uses product design, biology, computing and engineering to create wearable pieces that reflect environmental design and digital morphogenesis, with shapes and properties that give meaning based on the context in which they are used within in her looks. Oxman also utilizes 3D printing in her work, using a G3D (the first 3D printer to create optically transparent glass) that was used to be worn in her couture shows and performances. Her work has been showcased in famous galleries worldwide such as the MoMa.
From Japan, Issey Miyake entered the fashion world with the idea of focusing on integrative innovation with fashion through the combination of eastern and western elements into his designs. His work includes development of new technology to structure his designs through intricate fabrics, methods of pleating, and methods that would allow flexibility and movement to combine in unique ways once worn by the wearer. Through this innovation in fashion, and combining intricate designs, Miyake has not only created a trademark for his name but has changed traditional forms of pleating and mending in fashion, creating a signature brand through his imaginative and dynamic vision. He is also well known for his inspiring quote on design, “Design is not for philosophy – it’s for life.”
Based in Montreal, Ying Gao is not only a fashion designer, but a professor at the University of Quebec. As a designer, Gao changes her audiences’ perception of clothing by combining fashion design with product and media design. Looking at the construction of garments, and gathering inspiration from urban environment, her designs are innovative mediums that situate themselves in technological and textiles realms. As per example, a lot of her most famous works show sensory technologies that allow her looks to become more poetic to audiences and interactive with the wearer. A great inventor in the fashion world, her designs transcend just “regular” fashion and merge into wearable technological experimentation.
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Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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