Discover more from The Lost i
SEWING THROUGH SCREENS
“The garment becomes more than just an outfit. It's an optical sculpture. It's an interactive object.” - Nicolas Sassoon
In fashion, textiles, prints and patterns are more than just flat designs. They’re not just 2D abstract artworks. They exist in dimension, informing the qualities of garments like their texture, weight and forms. They are integrated into the clothes, not just applied on top.
As such, in creating SEEN ON SCREEN, there is an entire area of work outside of the creation of the moiré prints themselves: the dimensional design — the sculptural elements, the garments — within which the patterns are experienced.
Whilst digital fashion can make it easier to create clothes with the absence of material constraints or the help of generative AI, DRAUP’s digital fashion demands a similar level of skill and depth of process to that of a Paris couturier, albeit in its digital form.
STEP 1: THE CONCEPT
Although digital fashion can feel like an obvious opportunity to push the bounds of physics, in this collection we looked to simple silhouettes to best display the optical illusions of moiré.
Playing on the visual tensions of the pattern — between depth and flatness, the 2D and the 3D — the collection’s design concepts drew on the physical qualities of screens. Panelling, layering, folding — we used large surface areas of materials to showcase the beauty of digital illusions.
STEP 2: THE SKETCH
Once the concept was cast we moved on to visualising using Midjourney. Much like a couturier’s toile making step (a white full-size mock-up), at this stage we could assess the strengths or weaknesses of our designs through generating these sample images.
After we had a more concrete vision of the garment, we began sketching what we call “draw overs” on a tablet, which allow us to decide the core design elements of the piece that exemplify the moiré. In a traditional atelier, this stage would be the free-hand drawing from the Creative Director.
STEP 3: THE PATTERN
In a traditional atelier, once a sketch is drawn, pattern cutters reduce it down to a silhouette’s basic components — its patterns. A chalk outline is drawn onto fabric around the parameters of a pattern, and darts, seams and hems are sensitively marked in place. These chalk lines serve as a guide for scissors to cut the fabric into shape and are, finally, sewn together by seamstresses.
Translating these physical practices into the digital, DRAUP’s 3D designer, Nikolas Makridakis, interpreted the sketches into 2D digital patterns in Marvellous Designer, where they are translated into 3D and sewn directly onto the mannequin. Without the limitations of materiality, the software allows for creative reimagining to continue. The extendable and adjustable constraints of digital swathes of fabric means that, in the digital, the design can evolve.
STEP 4: THE FABRIC
Traditionally, the art of draping — the literal draping and pinning of fabric — can be used to create an initial pattern or to design organically by repositioning and styling fabric on a mannequin. In DRAUP’s design process, ZBrush software allows the designer to sculpt mock-ups as if they were moulded from clay. Doing away with patterns and toiles all together, needles, thread and sewing machines are replaced with cursors, pixels and software.
The embroiderers, plumassiers and weavers, that are required to complete an haute couture garment, are matched with their digital equivalents in the form of infinite scaleable and electable visual traits in Houdini, Blender (and other DRAUP deployed 3D softwares). This process not only parallels the detail and intricacy of an atelier, but in many cases surpasses it, expanding the capacity for what is possible.
STEP 5: THE PRINT
When it comes to digital textiles, instead of taking a 2D print and applying it to digital clothing, the collection more closely mirrors the process of textile creation in traditional fashion, born out of embroidery or printmaking. In this collection, we use qualities of the digital medium to reveal a pattern from the layers of the garments themselves.
To extend the traditional fashion metaphor, Nicolas Sassoon, in our atelier, is the print designer — the textile creator. In his own words “I especially think [the role of] pattern maker is the one that I feel very comfortable with, because a lot of my work as an artist is literally pattern making.”
“I have absolutely no problem transitioning from working as an artist or taking on a role that traditionally would fall more on the role of a decorator or a designer or a pattern maker.” - Nicolas Sassoon
STEP 6: TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
Whilst every component of our garments' final forms are created in Houdini, the last step takes each one through a generative system (a precoded program, which with the help of chance, produces multiple unique outputs) to reach their full realisation. More on that coming soon…
As a project working to expand the creative and technological bounds of digital fashion whenever we create, the tools we use, and the approaches we take to craft are fundamentally digital — they draw out the elements of the garments that can’t exist physically.
By shining light on digital artisanship, we hope to elevate digital fashion as a form of craft seen not as secondary to its physical counterparts, but rather as its equal. See our virtual atelier for more…