2. Research + Design
Circuit Playground Express board x 2 (Adafruit)
TC2 Jacquard Loom (Digital Weaving Norway)
Mercerized cotton yarn, black 20/2 (warp)
Linen yarn, cream, 20/2 (weft)
Power mesh, black x 5 yd
aeiyou open-source weave draft software
Collaborator Anna Routson and I develop a garment design and production system using data from the everyday life of the wearer.
After generating initial designs based on answers to personal questions, we modulate design parameters using an algorithm with
inputs of volume, light, and accelerometer data captured from wearable sensor boards. The algorithm outputs design files that
vary from the original according to user data. Select files are hand woven on a TC2 Jacquard loom and constructed into seasonal garments.
The relationship of garment to wearer inspires its long-term use as a uniform, in turn encouraging decreased consumption of fast
fashion garments and textiles. By integrating the life of the wearer into textile design, the distinction between consumer and designer begins to dissolve.
Keywords: data-assisted design, algorithmic design, digital weaving, textiles, distributed making
Intro + objectives
Garments are a person’s second skin. Material, structure, and shape coalesce, reflecting the wearer’s choices as a result of lifestyle, preferences, values, and surroundings. The data-assisted design system developed in this project makes this relationship explicit in the textile. As a person’s life conditions change, the textile design algorithm can output new instances of an initial design to reflect those changes.
The design system need not be limited in application to textiles and fashion, though we choose to focus on them in the scope of this project. The principles can be applied to any material and design process. The advantage of using a data-assisted design system is that the autonomy of the human being is preserved. Support structures of data analysis methodology and algorithmic data processing are built with the sensitivity of humanity in mind, carrying a critique of widespread data-harvesting and deterministic advertising practices.
Through the synthesis of designer, data analyst, craftperson, wearer, and researcher roles, Anna and I present an alternative to the global fashion industry standard of creator-led fashion. Whereas prominent fashion houses today are largely led by artistic directors whose ideas determine the aesthetic outcomes of garments produced downstream, we envision a ground-up alternative that privileges the circumstances of the wearer and “recipient” of the design as the meaningful variables in the design outcome. Further, the garments produced as a result of the data-assisted design process are meant to be worn as uniforms; that is, repeatedly and for a long time. Because the textiles are handwoven using quality yarns, their craft and aesthetic value is high. In the landscape of mass-produced garments and fast fashion, these garments stand out not only for their design but also for their durability and beauty.
The project objectives are:
The primary questions we pose are:
The presentation of this project will consist of a multimedia exhibition of garments and textiles. Anna and I will wear the finished garments
in a live show that combines elements of a runway show, art exhibition, and choreographed performance. The research and development process can be
shown in the form of digital design files on monitors, printed design files, video and audio recordings, stations where viewers can interact with
the textile design algorithm code, and sensor board data collections demos. Programming in the form of interactive workshops where participants
develop their own data-assisted design systems for textiles and other materials could be organized.
The project will be open-source: all files and documentation will be publicly accessible via cloud-based storage.
Phase I: Groundwork (Oct. 2020 – Jan. 2021)
Phase II: Structure (Feb. – Aug. 2021)
Phase III: Production (Sep. – Dec. 2021)
Phase IV: Presentation (Jan. – Mar. 2022)
Phase V: Community Networking (Apr. 2022 – May 2023)
Flow chart of steps in the data-assisted design system.
Visual layout of documentation from Phase 1.
Representative of initial design pool, process shot (bird of paradise sliced and repeated)
Previous design file indexed to B&W for TC2 Jacquard
Previous file applied as fill pattern to container pattern (bird of paradise into tiger lily)
One of the initial designs sampled on the TC2.
Previous design woven into cloth on the TC2 in February 2021.
A second design sampled on the TC2.
Previous design being woven into cloth on the TC2 in February 2021.
MakeCode code block for sensor board data collection. MakeCode’s visual layout and ease of use makes it a useful tool for disseminating data-assisted design procedures to others.
Programming and getting familiar with our Circuit Playground Express boards in December 2020.
Sporting CPE on handsewn neck collar for data collection period on 26 Feb. 2021.
Connie and Anna beginning data collection period at the same time in Cleveland and Poulsbo.