Yasmina Dexter and I sat in the back of the cinema at The Painting Rooms Presentation hosted by the Royal Society of the Arts at Durham House, as her film in collaboration with photographer Antonio Mingot played on a loop in front of us. Two minutes prior, Justine Fairgrieve of The Wolves London said “You’ve got to meet Yasmina – the art director of the film. She’s part of the Preen DNA”. What ensued was an enlightening and fun chat about fashion, textiles, robots, art direction, travelling and DJ’ing.
Yasmina starting working with the Preen team in 2000, headed by Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, Yasmina, firstly in the Preen shop in Portobello Road, then on production of the collections, before working on soundtracks for the shows and eventually sales. Fast forward to 2017 and Yasmina is an Art Director working with a number of clients, most recently LN-CC, defining her work through artistic collaborations involving film, music and fashion. Like me, she’s fascinated by robots, so maybe they’ll enter her creative mix at some point too.
She tells me of her reservations about fashion per se, but her “love of products”. She loves everyday clothes that are real and work hard. Clothes that are better than the ones that came before them. We ponder truly ‘innovative fashion’ and discuss technical textiles – agreeing that smart textiles will lead the way, ahead of silhouettes, in ‘new’ fashion of the future. After discussing the huge potential of textiles to revolutionise fashion we segue back into the film which launches the Pre-Fall 17 collection for Preen Line, the fun little sister of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.
Preen Line Pre-Fall 2017
“Justin’s brief was dance and rave”, said Yasmina. “That was it – an open brief, really” she explains. That allowed her to do what she wanted, relishing the fact that she and Justin know each other so well that he lets her do her own thing. The venue was an industrial space in Dalston and the subject was artist and go-go dancer, . Our conversation diverts to Yasmina DJ’ing at Mona in Tasmania and me sucking up a telling-off for never having been there (I’m Australian).
It’s these kind of collaborations and creative collectives that underpin so much of what is presented at London Fashion Week. The credit sheets are filled with creatives contributing to ambitious and passion-filled teams pulling all-nighters on restricted budgets, making work that punches way above its weight.
Yasmina and Antonio’s film leaves me wanting to boil wash my tracksuit and hit the stairs. How about you? More patient than me? Keep an eye out for the Pre-Fall 17 collection on the Preen Line Store .
I’m off to put on a hot wash.
UH OH HER – PREEN LINE FALL17
BY FEELINGS ARE FACTS, FEATURING MARINA ONTANAYA ART DIRECTOR: YASMINA DEXTERDIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: ANTONIO MINGOTEDITORS: YASMINA DEXTER, ANTONIO MINGOT, COMMANDER FSTYLIST: VINCENT PONSCHROMO TECHNICIAN: JAMIE BULLCASTING: FEELINGS ARE FACTS
Off the back of a frantic London Fashion Week I attended Superhuman, an exhibition of work by the MA and MSc graduates of Ravensbourne, spanning the degrees Communication Design, Interactive Products Features, Fashion, Wearable Futures, Applied Technologies (rapid prototyping and digital technologies), Interactive Digital Media, Moving Image and Environment Design. The titles of these degrees alone fills me with wonder and optimism and gives anecdotal support to a claim I saw in a tangential teaser video by Future Hub, claiming that ‘40% of the top jobs in 2027 have not even been invented yet’, suggesting that the old educational silos and linear career paths of the past will not fit the bill of the future. Step up Ravensbourne…
With the work of 29 graduates presented in a compact exhibition space it was a great deal to review and as such, my overview focuses on fashion and digital technologies.
Farid Bin Karim is the first student to graduate from the MSc Wearable Futures degree and has created a body of written work entitled “Couturier and the Art of Survival: a Technologist’s Guide”. This work is the result of Farid’s ambitious attempt to explore the appetite within the ‘closed-shop’ of couture for current and future technologies.
His guide looks into the hypothetical future of the aesthetic embellishments of couture and the couturier in their struggle to remain relevant in an ever-changing and digital future. Farid seeks to explain how technology can aid in this endeavour and affect the human perception of adornment as a wearable. It is an exploration in updating crafts and disciplines to add dimensionality for wearables of the future.
MSc Applied Technologies graduate Jason Taylor’s project “The Bionic Toolkit” explores the idea of changing the way amputees interact with the design world by creating intuitive design tools. It begins from the basis that the human hand has shaped the way we use traditional tools to design, meaning that such design tools are difficult to use with a prosthetic limb, as these devices are not kinematically accurate.
Taylor began by deconstructing an MRI scan of his own arm to create a 3D digital model. This model then served as a template in which myoelectric sensors, servos, and microprocessors were inserted and arranged so as to preserve kinematic function. Using an open source robotic arm by InMoov (created by friend of Techstyler, Gael Langevin) for initial testing allowed Jason to explore how tools could be incorporated directly into the arm, reducing the need for sensors that would usually grip an existing tool.
Jason explained that “Rigorous testing has allowed me to explore the most efficient ways in which an amputee could draw, write, paint, sculpt etc… typically by attaching existing tools to each phalanx and recording the level of control, and ease of use. This allows for varying DOF’s (degree’s of freedom) depending upon the tool being used”. “Using Ravensbourne’s state of the art prototyping facilities has allowed me to 3D print many iterations of mechanisms and prototypes, using a combination of FDM and polyjet 3D printers, laser cutters and 3D CNC machines.”
He plans to continue with the project now that he has graduated, and wishes to design more tools that amputees can attach to the Bionic Toolkit. “The next step would be to make my project open source, so that other designers can freely edit my designs, and improve the quality of lives of others.”
Update: 13/10/16 “The Bionic arm now allows the user to not only draw, sculpt, paint etc… but also to interact with digital environments (great for 3D modelling, VR and AR), sculpt dense materials (acting as a dremel-like tool), and 3D print direct from the ‘finger tips’. Actions and movements can now also be recorded and repeated for iterative designs – lots of improvements since we last spoke!”
Siyue “Lulu” Xu’s designs propose that denim’s prevalent, cheap, fast fashion reputation can be reshaped by elevating denim design through craft. The collection challenges the perceptions of environment-friendly fashion design and aims to show that smart design can both be aesthetically sleek and pleasing and at the same time reduce the rate of pollution from industrial manufacturing in a post-humanist future.
Lulu prints, embroiders and enhances new and second-hand denim fabrics and garments, transforming them from ubiquitous items into rare collectibles. Her re-worked denim seeks to challenge the polluting reputation that denim carries and is inspired by rebellion and anarchy, taking its manifesto from punk and 1980’s western club culture. For more of Lulu’s work check out her collection book and Instagram antics.
Zoe Alexandria Paton Burt’s work in progress is “Neither/Nor” (she is due to graduate from the MA fashion degree next year) and looks into the gender divide in clothing and how it perpetuates inequality amongst different genders. She is seeking to highlight modern day use of language that is ingrained in western society that she feels undermines individual behavioural traits, expecting men to behave in ‘masculine’ and women in a ‘feminine’ ways.
Zoe’s collection synopsis goes on to explain that “the collection will encompass the use of 3D modelling and printing, textile manipulation, embroidery, a broad range of fabrics from the traditional to the techno”. The final outcomes will be a collection, fashion film and a documentary aiming to raise awareness of the fight for equality.
The garments presented by Zoe under the name “Alexandria Paton” contain components that have been 3D scanned and modelled using Rhino, then realised with large format 3D printing. Zoe is also experimenting with 3D printing directly onto fabric using the Ultimaker 2 and Faberdashery PLA. She prints on to both Velvet and PolyUrethane fabrics and plans to further experiment with 3D modelling and printing, incorporating traditional textile techniques to create a new and unique amalgamations of the two.
Zoe Burt’s garment prototyping, MA Fashion Degree in progress
For more information on the Ravensbourne MA/MSc graduate show visit superhuman2016.uk
More information on Ravensbourne courses can be found here.