Soft Construct. Not the style, but the space.

Camilla Bruerberg, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Department of Design

My field of research is within fashion design, specifically digital knitwear technology and textile design.

The wide field of fashion spans from hard-core commercial industry to strong individual artistic practises. It is a craft based subject, we work with garments – tangible, wearable products. The textile and garment is designed to be worn. It has a purpose. It has potential. I see this relationship as both powerful and everyday-like; wearing textiles is one thing all people share. We can communicate our identity, our desires, our needs and how we want to be approached.

New ways of integrating materials and digital techniques in clothing design are relevant across the field. Today the machines developed for knitwear are highly advanced with great potential for both the different practices within fashion as well as other fields. Still, designers are often not in a position to utilise these possibilities in a meaningful way, partially because of how textile production is organised and the pressure of economic profit. My hope for this project is to gain further knowledge into how a designer can explore and use new technology.

In light of this I will explore the possibilities that lie in the use of textile technology as a design tool. This includes increasing my own technical competence within knitted textiles, as well as research into different materials and their abilities and affordances.

Material and technique research has often been my artistic starting point. In this project I will explore relevant theories concerning materiality and our relationship to our surroundings. Spanning from the textile fibre to the possibilities that exists with knitting machines, and could also include other technologies like 3D printing and modelling, full body scanning and methods for shaping clothes virtually before making them. I will visit production sites and institutions to explore the possibilities for collaboration and training in specific machines. Acquiring self sufficiency in technical tools and the deeper understanding of these processes is paramount, as opposed to having someone else complete the technical work.

I will further investigate how textiles move in the space between and around the body, what affordences it can evoke from us, and let this influence how I approach textile and garment construction. I will incorporate this in the research using smaller experiments that may involve participants from other disciplines.

I expect to gain insights into new methods of intervention or inclusion that I can use as part of the further exploration of artistic form and presentation. With this I hope to find new approaches for garment and textile design and expand my design practise.

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