… with the MODE UNCUT Matrix
This past weekend (24th & 25th of May) we had a very summerish afternoon workshops in Helsinki, at Made in Kallio. On an appropriately hot day, around 25 degrees outside, we were planning with our workshop participants, to develop the potential and concept for an ‘Open Summer Collection’.
The two-day workshop event started off on Saturday noon, with some introductory talks by Alastair Fuad-Luke and Anja-Lisa Hirscher, on the ideas, values and potential of the Open Fashion Design Network – MODE UNCUT, the possibilities of opening up (fashion) design, and introducing the ideas of hybrid design models combining the digital maker culture with the analog garment making process.
Slide from the presentation, illustrating the possible cross-overs between digital and analog, for hybrid models of designing.
The talk was followed by an introduction to generative design processes with evolutionary and algorithmic design, by Matti Liimatainen. He kindly introduced his PhD-research, which amazed the workshop audience and made us all speechless. His work is focusing on developing generative applications for digital designing, to open and ease the pattern making process for a wider audience. His work and the functions of his apps, can be found via: www.mattiliimatainen.com
Matti, joining us via Skype from London.
In a quick feedback round, the audience described his work as decoding and opening the DNA of fashion, allowing implemention and hybridisation on different scales, including ‘rapid experimentation of endless possibilities’.
As a concluding and very inspiring talk, we hear Namkyu Chun, another doctoral researcher at Aalto ARTS, speaking about Fashion systems, and activist approaches in the New York Garment district. We were discussing the matters of scale, and possible implementations in Helsinki.
Slide from Namkyu’s presentation about the scaleability of different local design initiatives.
After these inspiring talks, we had enough food for thought to start creating a story and narrative around our Open Summer Collection. We started by thinking of what factors would motivate us personally to get involved in making the collections ourselves. Reasons mentioned were the ‘joy of making’, ‘inspiration through creativity’, ‘democratic designing’, ‘personal touch’ and ‘personal style’ and to design something for ‘– your and -our use’.
Based on this personal feeling we were discussing what would make us as a collective join the designing of a collection. See the answers in the image below.
Now it was time to think of tools, methods and reasons, which would engage and activate people to join. So, we could accordingly create a concept for our Dress for Summer collection. Based on the language we found around tools to engage: ‘100% Yours/Ours, Motivation, Need, Barriers vs. Possibilities, ‘I needed something that wasn’t there’ CP, Meet the new Creator, FUN, Tangible Made Product – Forking, Desire to be creative, Time-Style-Price…’, we created the starting point for the second day, the concept of a Matrix, based on the ideas of ‘Fashion on the Move, Clothing Recipes, Nomadic culture, light and moving, transformative fashion’, and the very nice slogan of: ‘Surprise yourself!’ to create curiosity.
The second day, which was dedicated with a real active making of wearable outcomes, started with a quick summary of the previous day, and picking up the idea of a collection, based on a Matrix.
We started to categorize the different body-parts starting from head, downwards to the feet, and putting these in relation the percentage of cover you can provide for each body part (Figure 1) Based on this, we developed ideas on working with it, and the potential to analyze the structure and function of whole collections existing. So basically it’s a tool for creation and the de-coding of existing collections. After discovering the great and open-end possibilities of the Matrix we went straight into making and designing. Taking one field of the Matrix: ‘upper torso’ with ‘70% cover’, and started each designing one piece, based on a rectangle shape, which each of us could decide how to reduce, reform and re-construct. (Figures 2 & 3).
Figure 1. The basic MODE UNCUT Matrix
Figure 2: Illustrating the variations of body cover for the upper torso.
Figure 3: Showcasing a few of the endless possibilities to design within just one cell the Matrix…
The results were very diverse, and just illustrate the rapid way of opening up the designing with this matrix. We each spend about one hour max. conceptualizing, picking fabrics, designing and sewing. Some images below, show the process and the workshop of the weekend.
The makers wore their prototypes at the end of the workshop showing the diversity of interpretation that the matrix ‘design brief’ generated. Not bad for an hour’s work!
A couple of days later the garmetns were modelled by Teresa, one of the workshop participants and photographed in Kallio, at Street Gastro. We are looking forward to explore the endless and open design possibilities of the MODE UNCUT matrix. Feel free to download and experiment!
The first collection of ‘Upper torso’, designs from the Mode Uncut Matrix:
We would be happy if you share your experiments with us via email@example.com
Anja-Lisa Hirscher and Alastair Fuad-Luke