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Uniqlo unveils live horizontal knitting machine at Paris exhibition

Uniqlo
Uniqlo

Uniqlo has unveiled an exhibition in Paris today, featuring a giant horizontal knitting machine, which will knit Uniqlo sweaters in front of a live audience.

Called “The Art and Science of LifeWear”, the show aims to tell the story of the textile technology behind the brand.

Held at the Jeu de Paume museum, visitors will also be able to follow the production journey of a typical Uniqlo knitwear product through a series of photographs. The show has fittingly opened just one day after the beginning of Paris Fashion Week.

At the exhibition’s opening, the brand’s founder and president, Tadashi Yanai, talked to the founding principles of the company. “Simple yet functional, high-quality and durable clothes, that’s what we aspire to offer,” he told WWD.

Uniqlo's Horizontal Knitwear Machine
Uniqlo’s Horizontal Knitwear Machine

The machine itself is a unique piece of storytelling of Uniqlo’s history. Established in 1962 by the company Shima Seiki, which works with Uniqlo for all its knitwear production, it innovated knitwear production by creating a machine that worked in a similar fashion to a 3D printer.

A company representative says the machine reduces production waste: “The horizontal knitting machine starts with one string of yarn to create the product. It does not require any different patterns, therefore there is no waste at all.”

This ties in with Uniqlo’s sustainability pledge, to which Yanai added: “Sustainability is everything. This is the most important value for mankind and that’s what we like to keep implementing through our clothing business and we are very, very serious about changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and changing the world.”

At the end of the exhibition, visitors are able to purchase travel-themed sweaters via the museum shop. A questionnaire poses them the question: “Did this exhibition make you want to buy Uniqlo knitwear?”

The exhibition runs until Saturday, September 29.

How are you thinking about textile innovation and sustainability? We’re all about helping you build strategic integrations. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

 

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Editor's pick product sustainability

Puma and MIT exhibit examines how biodesign can enhance performance

Puma x MIT Adaptive Packaging

Puma has teamed up with the MIT Design Lab to explore how using living organisms can enhance a person’s performance when wearing sportswear.

Four initial experiments that derived from that study were exhibited at this year’s Milan Design Week, which took place in Italy last week.

Through this partnership, which initiated a little over a year ago, Puma and MIT have been conducting research on how biodesign – the practice of using living materials such as algae or mycelium – can bring the advances in science and biotechnologies to the consumer’s daily lives through sports products. For the MIT Design Lab, its long term aim is to make athletic gear that is “highly adaptable, personalized, and future-proof”.

The four initial projects include a Breathing Shoe, which is a biologically active shoe that enables personalised ventilation by growing its own air passageways to keep the foot cool; Deep Learning Insoles, which collate realtime biofeedback by using organisms to measure chemical phenomena that indicates things like fatigue; Carbon Eaters, which is a microbially-active t-shirt that responds to its environment to change its appearance and inform the wearer about air quality; and Adaptive Packaging, a biologically programmable material that can change its shape and structure to become a new type of alive, biodegradable and adaptive packaging.

Puma x MIT Carbon Eaters
Puma x MIT Carbon Eaters

The exhibition was powered by a desktop bio-prototyping platform by Biorealize, which brings the capabilities of a biology wetlab into a single piece of hardware that enables the user to design, culture and test organisms.

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MOMA exhibition highlights biofabrications and new technologies as the future of fashion

The Stella McCartney x Bolt Threads dress on show at the MOMA
The Stella McCartney x Bolt Threads dress on show at the MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art’s first exhibition dedicated to fashion design since 1944 presents garments and accessories that have had a profound impact on global culture over the last century.

In “Items: Is Fashion Modern?”, a total of 111 pieces span everything from the Little Black Dress and Levi’s 501 jeans, to the hoodie, the bikini, the stiletto and the Sari. About 30 of the items are also complemented by a new prototype, however – a commissioned or loaned piece inspired by advancements that signify where the industry is moving next.

These have been created by designers, artists, scientists, engineers, and manufacturers – those able to respond to the idea of these “indispensable items” with pioneering materials, approaches, and design revisions. Included is a t-shirt featuring the first lab-grown leather from bioengineering firm Modern Meadow; a dress woven from artificial spider silk by Bolt Threads marking a new partnership with designer Stella McCartney; and a new take on a customisable Breton shirt by 3D knitting company Unmade.

There’s also a fibre-optic Richard Nicoll dress on loan, created by wearable technology company XO, in partnership with Disney, as well as newly conceived versions of the pencil skirt, the biker jacket, the jumpsuit and more. Meanwhile, a wider zone in the exhibition devoted to new technologies and visions of the future, also features Issey Miyake’s A-POC and Pierre Cardin’s Cosmos Collection along with Gore-Tex, the leotard, and the Moon Boot.

Paola Antonelli, the MOMA’s Senior Curator for the Department of Architecture and Design, and its Director of Research and Development, shared her insights on the forward looking aspect of the exhibition and what it means for the future of fashion. Head over to Forbes to read the full interview.

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Burberry reveals new photography exhibition celebrating British social portraiture

One of the shots in Burberry's new Here We Are exhibition - Ken Russell's In Your Dreams, January 1955 © TopFoto / Ken Russell
One of the shots in Burberry’s new Here We Are exhibition – Ken Russell’s In Your Dreams, January 1955 © TopFoto / Ken Russell

Burberry is to stage a major photography exhibition celebrating British social portraiture and bringing together the work of over 30 of the 20th Century’s best documentary image-makers.

Here We Are, as it’s called, is curated by Christopher Bailey, president and ?chief creative officer at Burberry, and Lucy Kumara Moore, writer, curator and director of fashion book store, Claire de Rouen. It will be displayed over three floors of the brand’s ?new show venue at Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, which will open to the public for the first time since its restoration.

It features works from photographers including Dafydd Jones, Bill Brandt, Brian Griffin, Shirley Baker, Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Jo Spence, Ken Russell, Charlie Phillips, Karen Knorr, Janette Beckman, Andy Sewell and more.

It also marks the start of a new creative collaboration with photographer Alasdair McLellan, who will be involved in capturing portfolios of images for Burberry; set to be revealed via their social media platforms over the coming months. A presentation of 70 pieces of his work will additionally be included in the exhibition, for which he further served as co-curator.

That curation sees all of the work divided into themes that reflect different aspects of the British way of life, as well as monographic presentations of individual photographers.

Said Bailey, who introduced the concept to Burberry fans via Instagram yesterday: “When we started thinking about curating “Here We Are”, I knew I wanted it to celebrate a certain strand of British photography that I have always loved – one which documents the many and varied tribes and clans and classes that make up this island of ours. It has been an extraordinary privilege to gather together this collection of photographs that have influenced me so much over the years. They provide a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh.”

The “spirit captured in British social portraiture” as well as the various “tribes, clans and classes that make up this island of ours”, serves as inspiration for the brand’s next collection, he explained, to be revealed at the venue on September 16.

The exhibition will run from September 18 – October 1, 2017, while the space will also host a programme of events and activities alongside as well as temporary versions of Burberry’s all-day café Thomas’s and a Claire de Rouen bookshop.

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Editor's pick technology

Fashion and tech announced as theme of 2016 Met Gala, sponsored by Apple

met-gala-theme-2

Technology is due to get a big nod of acceptance from the fashion industry in 2016 as the theme of the next Costume Institute exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”, will focus on the dichotomy between handmade haute couture and machine-made fashion, according to Vogue. It will showcase over 100 pieces of fashion, and unsurprisingly, be sponsored by Apple.

“Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made,” explains Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute. “But recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other.”

Expect to see traditional techniques including embroidery, pleating and lacework placed alongside new technologies such as laser cutting, thermo shaping, and circular knitting. Workshops on areas including 3D printing will also allow the public to see designs taking shape in real-time.

While there’s no information yet as to whether the exhibition will span into the embracing of digital by the industry thus including brands such as Burberry through to Ralph Lauren, there will no doubt be pieces on display from the likes of Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen and Issey Miyake.

Further hints lie in the fact Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada will serve as honorary chairs of the Met Gala due to take place on Monday, May 2. Apple’s Jonathan Ive as well as Idris Elba and Taylor Swift will join Anna Wintour as co-chairs.

You might also like: Robots, holograms and wearables: a tech history of fashion week

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Digital snippets: Polyvore sells to Yahoo, Calvin Klein on sexting, Marques’Almeida’s email campaign

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech. Fashion & Mash is now taking a bit of a break for the summer in a bid to regenerate, but we’ll be back later in August…

calvin-klein-sexting-ad-750

  • Why Polyvore’s Jess Lee sold to Yahoo [TechCrunch]
  • Calvin Klein takes on sexting, Tinder to promote #mycalvins (as pictured) [WWD]
  • Marques’Almeida is releasing its new campaign by email [i-D]
  • Louis Vuitton to stage Instagram-friendly ‘Series 3’ exhibition in London [BoF]
  • Filmmaker and video artist Charles Atlas creates Calvin Klein Collection’s new fall campaign [Style.com]
  • The Asos approach to native content: authenticity [Digiday]
  • How Facebook (not YouTube) is helping Chubbies make videos about men’s shorts go viral [AdWeek]
  • Forever 21 launches Instagram powered thread screen [DigitalBuzzBlog]
  • Everlane’s mobile app: one-tap checkout, download incentives [Digiday]
  • Agile adaptors: How John Lewis, Argos and Westfield are innovating through start-ups [The Drum]
  • Do universal shopping carts have a future? [Fashionista]
  • If you think Amazon is huge now, wait until it becomes America’s biggest fashion retailer [Quartz]
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Editor's pick technology

You can try-on legendary Alexander McQueen make-up looks with this virtual tool

Holition-Virtual McQueen Warpaint - ANCHOR

One of the most relevant applications for virtual try-ons has got to be for the beauty industry. Walk in to any retailer and the cosmetic counter is relatively restrictive in terms of actually being able to see what a certain eyeshadow or shade of lipstick looks like on your face.

Ease, simplicity, seamless interactions are what we’re after when shopping today, meaning dabbling with a dodgy tester or being patient enough to wait for one of the sales associates to apply products for you, doesn’t usually cut it. If you’re anything like me therefore, you have a drawer full of 20+ red lippies, most of which just aren’t quite right.

Which is why I’m excited about “Face”. This is a virtual reality app created by London-based digital creative studio Holition that allows you to see exactly what the make-up you’ve selected will appear like when you put it on. Others have tried this before, but Holition have nailed it in terms of the tracking technology – meaning it does actually attach the product to your lips, your eyes, your cheeks and more, as though you were just looking in a mirror.

I know that because I tried it at the London College of Fashion recently, where the app is part of an exhibition focused on the beauty looks that dominated Alexander McQueen’s catwalk shows during the tenure of its late founder, Lee McQueen.

Take a look at the full story over on Forbes.com for insight into all that it entails.

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social media

Instagram to celebrate creativity at Cannes Lions, calls for exhibition content

CannesPosterRevisedInstaHighResFIN2

Instagram is inviting brands and consumers alike to submit their most creative images for potential inclusion in a gallery space at next month’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

La Galerie d’Instagram will showcase a small collection of the best photos pulled from the Instagram community, for festival-goers to enjoy from June 15-21. Those who tag (up to three of) their shots by June 13 with #instagramcannes could be included in the exhibition. Winners will be selected based on the “originalitytechnical execution, and subject matter” of their submission.

“Both Instagram and Cannes Lions celebrate the world’s best visual imagery, so we’re planning to bring that connection to life at the festival,” it said Instagram in a blogpost.

Cannes Lions is an annual gathering honouring the best work in advertising and visual communications. As reported last year, it’s slowly becoming a space for the fashion industry to both be seen and recognised in too.

That’s looking set to also be the case this year, with speakers on the agenda including Melisa Goldie, CCO of Calvin Klein; Raphael Elicha founder of The Kooples; actress Sarah Jessica Parker with Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles ; and supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

Highlight names otherwise include Ralph Fiennes, Sheryl Sandberg, Aaron Sorkin, Sir Patrick Stewart, Spike Jonze, Sir John Hegarty and more.

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film

Video highlight: Jean Paul Gaultier talks 2014 Barbican exhibition

There’s three types of good fashion films these days: the conceptual creative type (think features for seasonal campaigns), the product shots (more for selling, a lot shorter in length but ideally still tied to a story), and then the interview. That was an idea coined by Harriet Mays Powell of The Look Now (formerly fashion director at New York Magazine), speaking at the first Fashion Forward conference in 2011.

Her focus was that each needs investment, not just in terms of money, but in terms of a strategic approach. The better interviews for instance aren’t haphazard behind-the-scenes clips that don’t do a high fashion house any justice, but well-shot and insightful pieces in their own right.

This one (below) just released by The Barbican Centre in London serves as a great example. It captures designer Jean Paul Gaultier animatedly discussing his upcoming exhibition in its art gallery in April 2014. Set in his Paris studio, with shots of various items from his collections interspersed, he jokes about the retrospective being shown while he’s still alive, and highlights his appreciation for the city of London.

The entire video is such an enthusiastic insight into him and his brand, that when he says, “I am very lucky because I am living my passion”, at the end, the viewer truly believes him.

 

The exhibition itself also sounds like a winner. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, as it’s called, will see more than 140 garments from 1970 to today presented. Included will be the infamous conical bra from Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour, as well as costumes for Kylie Minogue and films such as The Fifth Element.

The exhibition will also comprise catwalk footage, music videos, films, dance performances and snippets from Gaultier’s cult TV show, Eurotrash. It will be accompanied by an events programme and film season.

It has been initiated and produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, and will tour worldwide.

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Chloé launches digital archive for 60-year celebration

Chloé is celebrating its 60th anniversary with an interactive digital archive to accompany its Chloé.Attitudes exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

The Alphabet, as it’s called, is an online exploration of the French fashion house’s heritage from 1952 to current day. Created by digital agency Guided Collective, it plays on the idea of founder Gaby Aghion’s own naming of her collections and garments, taking each letter of the alphabet and assigning it a relevant theme.

The first five letters were, unsurprisingly, C H L O and E. They launched simultaneously last week with a short film each (shown below) directed by Poppy De Villeneuve, Julie Verhoeven, Kathryn Ferguson, Stéphanie Di Giusto and Mary Clerté, who interpreted the themes of counter-couture, horses, light, O (roundness) and embroidery respectively.

The rest of the archive letters will be brought to life with further documentary films, previously unseen imagery, past advertising, sketches and collection references, editorial and even specially-commissioned music.

“Individually [they tell] a fragment of the story; collectively [they form] a mosaic of Chloé’s iconic moments, inspirations and heritage,” reads the write-up.

A new letter is currently launching every other day, revealed by a famous blogger worldwide before appearing on The Alphabet microsite. Once they are all live, users will be able to send friends an invitation featuring their own version of the heritage, relative to the letters that make up their name.

Referred to as playful, immersive, imaginative and compelling, the site is available in six languages worldwide and across multiple devices.

The Chloé.Attitudes exhibition opened on September 29 and runs until November 18.