FDS is already driving some significant academic and enterprise led collaborations to develop research in this area for the sector. The team are also working to build strong networks that will provide opportunities for further international research.
The existing fashion model or system, as perhaps established some 150 years ago as a means to stimulate consumption, is currently being challenged and faces major transformation as never before with the rapacious speed and application of emergent digital technologies and manufacturing processes. Traditional markers within Fashion, those of supply chains, brand, luxury, designer, house, season, collection or catwalk show are already increasingly contested and where notions of identity, influence, reach, collaboration, micro-trend, sub-culture and sustainability are being revolutionized through technology. These developments point to the emergence of a new fashion system, where technology is universally regarded as a vibrant tool for inclusive creativity and where the old obsolescence of fashion is super-ceded by ‘perceived performance’ enhancement. Although Fashion will likely remain within a relatively constrained commercial framework, there is now considerable scope for the making and telling of new stories (or the telling of old stories in new ways) with the adoption of more imaginative and responsible behaviours.
This research centres on the notion of the ‘multiverse’ and ‘multividuals’, and the idea of fashion as a traditional marker of time (collections and seasons) being eroded by the evolution of the internet and new media (Web 3.0 currently implicates the representing of meanings, the connecting of knowledge and putting these to work in ways that make our experience of internet more relevant, useful, and enjoyable. Web 4.0, from around 2020 will connect intelligences in a ubiquitous web, where both people and things reason and communicate together, spawning multi-billion dollar technology markets, transforming the landscape of industry as well as our engagement with the internet). This will pave the way for a new ‘architecture’ of Fashion and the new technologies it will progressively employ – innovative means of construction, machines, tools and processes and importantly the array of contemporary personnel, technical expertise and creative’s required to deliver new excellence for education and industry. Such a radical shift of focus, aligned with new forms of digital immersion, will progressively facilitate more pioneering, elaborate and captivating means for us to ‘engineer’ Fashion.
This investigation focuses on emerging new cultures of Fashion being delivered by digital technologies and the establishment of a whole new set of semantics. It also identifies new physical-to-digital interfaces and how we might increasingly explore, enhance and challenge a range of corporeal senses and sensations, (touch, smell, sound, etc) through innovative digital opportunities, insights and ambitions that lead to dynamic and novel narratives for Fashion.
These will likely develop as consumer, customer or client driven scenarios, where users will be able to ‘capture’ experiences, functions and meanings and thereafter realize, recommunicate and augment them anew through the digital. This might provoke fascinating and contemporary notions of Couture, reconnecting us with its traditional perception as the experimental wing of fashion. Here, we can see cloth encapsulated as a digital object, or where clothing can be conceived from sound or a performance or where ever more immersive environments can be created that engage and enrich us through a motivating culture of simulation and visualisation.
Our current research portfolio includes projects funded by the Technology Strategy Board, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the European Commission:
EPSRC “Research in the Wild”
We are currently engaged in a number of exciting commercial consultancy projects...but we can’t talk about them as we are under NDA. Look out for the results when they hit our Blog soon.
We are building an international network of partners in education and research, these currently include: