Started on the 11th April 2011 - Blogging from a 20 year old Fashion Student

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Digital Revolution: Lost in the Pipeline

‘Digital Revolution’, the words have been passed back and forth from mouth to mouth in many different formats. It seems as though technology is on the brink of promise, especially when it comes to integrating it with fashion. Brands such as Apple have enlisted figures from the fashion industry to make the technology seem even more needed. But it seems like technological fashion is going backwards instead of forwards.

Ashish X Topshop

Ashish X Topshop, another collaboration for the popular clothing brand, now an empire of clothing, accessories and make up, reduced to a gimmick with one fell swoop of the Ashish collection. Led lights lined shoes and nestled themselves within the seams of PVC backpacks, dragging me back kicking and screaming to the days when see-through rucksacks had pockets of vibrantly coloured liquid and my trainers lit up when I ran, pressing down with extra force to make sure they definitely did work. I’m all for a 90s revival, don’t get me wrong, but when something is hailed as revolutionary, I expect something a little more up to date.


Trying to compete with the Google Glass, Apple is retracing their footsteps and poaching yet another fashion executive, enlisted to make sure we reach for the plastic come release. Less than a year after it announced the appointment of former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, Apple got greedy and lured LVMH executive Patrick Pruniaux (Vice President of sales at Tag Heuer) into their lair lined with convergence boards and floating pixels. Strapping a phone to your arm is hardly high fashion though (gym fanatics have been doing that since the noughties, purely functional). Can we expect an Apple Resort collection anytime soon? Perhaps not, but that would be an idea if anyone is going to take this digital uprising seriously, it’s hardly comparable to any historical revolution, unless the Queen gets a bit over-zealous with iPad accessories and pulls a Marie Antoinette.

"Digital Revolution" @ the Barbican

The future of tech fashion has to go beyond LED lights, transcending the desirability of catwalks and couture, and coalesce with our ever-evolving need to be so current that the fashions of yesterday are already ancient. A jejune representation of this could be taking pictures or screen grabbing an image from a catwalk and hooking it up to fibre thin screens woven into fabrics. But with this loss of texture, the designs would seem flat and lifeless – much like a sad fake handbag. With this element of literally lifting from the runway and copying designs, snobbery could be taken to the extreme. The real garment, hand crafted, versus the cyberspace equivalent.

This flat electronic fashion, much like the Paper Op Art dresses of the 60s would be an elementary way of customising, the elitist equivalent of iron on diamante or patches of appliqué. Contemporary fashion has surpassed plain textures and silhouettes, so how could this digital structure really contend with today’s treadmill of maturing designs? A malleable material perhaps? This is what’s holding the revolution back. Photoshop creations will never be as good as impasto art, just as a digital representation of intricate embroidery and heavily structured silhouette could never contend with the textures and negative space of the real thing. We may just be too impatient to find the golden combination of wearable tech.

the Twitter dress

With no sign of wearable tech found in the collections at Central Saint Martins, the students at one of the most forward thinking universities around have ditched modernism in favour of referencing historical movements and hand crafting couture collections, regressing back to the days of intricate textiles. Why this incessant need to electrify one of the most luxurious analogue art forms we have left?

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