Episode #5: Fashion and Technology

I’ve never considered myself a hard-core fashionista, nor much of a follower of specific designers, but when it comes to looking at pretty dresses I’m a certified geek. Like most sewers out there, I could spend far too much time examining a well-made garment, trying to learn the secrets of its construction. This was partially why I was excited to visit  the Museum at FIT‘s newest show, Fashion and Technology, up through May 8th, which includes a number of beautiful garments from famous designers. The other reason is that I’m a science and science fiction nerd, and the beautiful, futuristic creations in this exhibit—particularly the more recent clothes—appeal to that part of my brain.

Last week, I got to sit down with the curators of the show, Emma McClendon and Ariele Elia, two young and whip-smart fashion historians. We chatted about how fashion and clothing construction have changed since the industrial revolution, and how new inventions—such as 3D printing, wired clothes, and fabric made from bacteria (um, how sci-fi is that?)—might change what we wear in the future. You can hear our interview on episode #5 of Thread Cult, linked below and also available on iTunes.

Speaking of iTunes, this week Thread Cult was listed as a New & Notable podcast under both the Arts and Fashion & Beauty sections of iTunes! I don’t usually shamelessly promote, but I guess there’s always a time and place. If you like the show, it’d be great if you would rate or give it a review on iTunes, which will help more listeners find it!

Happy listening!

Thread Cult, Episode #5: Fashion and Technology

Subscribe on iTunes!

Some of my favorite garments from the show:

Simon Thorogood designed this duchess satin dress in 1997, inspired by the look of pilotless aircrafts (drones). I love the hood and the white cut-out in the front. I could easily see myself lounging in a knit version, although the silk is stunning.

In the mid 80’s, Marc Audibet collaborated with Dupont to develop a fabric made from Lycra and silk. The result? Essentially jersey knit. I love Audibet’s elegant use of jersey here. It reminds me of something out of the middle ages, but I could also see a bride wearing it in white.

This little round circuit board on the left was one of my surprise favorites of the show. It’s called a LilyPad Arduino, which essentially allows you to wire your clothing to do different tasks (power lights, play music, etc.). It was developed by Leah Buechley, a professor at M.I.T., and only costs $21. You can hear more about what you can do with it on the podcast!

Show notes:

Hussein Chalayan

Claire McCardell

Andre Courrege

Louise Grey

Mandy Coon

Marc Audibet

Cute Circuit

Twitter Dress

The Fifth Element opera singer

Simon Thorogood

MoMA show, Inventing Abstraction

Susan Lee’s bacteria fabric

LilyPad Arduino

Leah Buechley


FIT Design Membership

Intro:  fordhahm_nonnanonna, written and recorded by FakeShamus

Outro: Human Technology, by UV Protection

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