Nike is paving the way for a new approach to manufacturing through a data-driven collection with designer Matthew M Williams, the man behind breakout label Alyx.
The purpose-led line of training shirts, trousers and accessories for both men and women, employs computational design to transform the data into structural patterns. That data comes from Atlas maps relaying information about heat, sweat and motion, in a way that challenges traditional garment patterning.
“What computational design and computer data can offer is really the future of design,” affirms Williams. “It allows us to see things or take things further than we might otherwise. It helps to create a different perspective that we can build around. Working in tandem — with data and emotion — is super interesting.”
The initiative follows the launch of a capsule collection of data-driven t-shirts last year. Further detail explained that these tees were built on similar digital body maps that examined explicit lifestyle parameters (such as sweat and heat again) so as to define a visual language for ideal designs.
“Translated by the company’s cutting-edge knitting machines, this inclusive algorithm output a single-layer, seamless knit that delivered ventilation where needed and coverage where desired (for example, more ventilation on the back and increased coverage at the chest). From there, the designers tweaked the machine’s language (or code) to originate a final knit structure that was tested in an environmental simulator,” read the write-up.
One thing Williams is keen to emphasize, however, is that such an approach to design doesn’t replace the role of the creative. “You need human beings to still figure out how to interpret data in a great way. The storytelling of how the product links to its use and bring an emotion to it into — tug on the heartstrings a little bit. That’s where I see my role,” he explains.
The Nike x MMW collection releases on July 12.