Archive for the 'technology' Category

Tools for Fashion Productivity: Evernote

September 17, 2009

In my goal of helping fashion designers move forward with technology so that our jobs are easier and we can spend more energy and time on creating, I would like to share with you some of my tools for being productive. So much of a designer’s job is processing information, and I think a lot of time is wasted and things forgotten because they are often unproductive in their methods for organizing and finding things.

In trying to minimize the physical space I am taking up, I aim to move as much as possible of my research onto my computer. That makes organizational and productivity tools essential for me. Today, I am focusing on how we organize information for research and design.

Way back when (last year), I used Google Notebook to store information and jot down notes, etc. Then the project folded, and I had to find an alternative. And that I did. The better alternative is Evernote, and so enthused about it I am (I managed to capture all of what was available to education subscribers on trend forecasting site WGSN right before they canceled the service), that I am now a premium user. With all the images we use as visual inspiration and text we use as research, fashion designers are among those I see this program working well for. It would probably work great for collaborative environments as well.

Let me explain with visuals:

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And a close-up of my notebooks and notes:

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Basically, you get a browser add-on, and can simply “clip” items (text, images, pdfs, screenshots) into your notebooks. It’s so easy to use, frees up space on my hard drive, and is accessible from any computer. I clip market research in the form of PDFs, which all can be read directly from Evernote so that you don’t have a bunch of windows open that take forever to load. I also clip screenshots of projects and designs I am working as throughout the process so that I have a reference point to look back on, and process shots if I needed them.

I have Evernote on both my IMac and my laptop, and can clip from a shared computer as well into the Evernote web interface. (If you’re really that mobile, I believe that it can be used on mobile phones as well). Syncs are automatic. No worries about where you dropped that research and finding your computer’s hard drive messy and completely chaotic – so chaotic that all that research goes to waste because you can’t bother going through it. It’s all here (most of it lands in Inbox until I come to organize it, and often I put a bunch of things in to use as reference later).

I just had to write this post, because as I am currently researching my niche market collection (which is coming along, and I am so excited about!), I am finding that everything is going by so smoothly and productively because of this one simple program. I imagine the design process to go by much smoother as well.

Click here for Evernote

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Fashion: Meet Technology / ShopFlick

May 12, 2009

fashionmeettechnology

Fashion: Meet Technology is my weekly discovery of technology’s impact and influence in the fashion industry.

Last week I discovered ShopFlick, a video-based indie marketplace. The concept creates an innovative shopping experience, allowing for the intersection between discovery, entertainment, and community.

Online shopping used to take a major backseat to the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, but with the rise of social media, that is no longer the case. Shopping online has so many advantages, among them 24/7 opening hours, the ability to shop without a pushy salesperson, complete product information, etc.

ShopFlick brings another dimension to online shopping, and I am excited to see what further innovations will be made.

Fashion: Meet Technology / Milk dresses

May 5, 2009

fashionmeettechnology

Fashion: Meet Technology is my weekly post presenting finds and discussions of fashion meeting with technology. Yesterday’s post about haute tech fashion designer Angel Chang is an example of using technology to create fashion, and creating fashion to make sense for a life that interacts with technology on a daily basis. I thought today would be a great opportunity for me to showcase work in the field of photography, combining the glamour of fashion with the tools of technology.

While browsing Trendhunter, one of favorite clicks for inspiration and eye candy, I came across these milk dresses photographed by Russian photographer Andrey Razumovsky and digitally manipulated. The effect is provocative, beautiful, interesting, and humorous, a combo not easy to find. I like it.

At my part time job, I digitally enhance bridal photography (going beyond nothing more than enhancing colour, lighting, correcting skin tone and erasing imperfections) but I am learning more and more about Photoshop and its capabilities, and in the field of fashion photography, where often the aim is to capture a mood that inspires and creates buzz and controversy, the tools we have available today really help with that. There’s a fine line between enhancement and pure illusion, although in this case, that line is pretty clear. As my boss likes to say, it’s like magic. 😉

Inspired! / Angel Chang

May 4, 2009

inspired2

For my inaugural Inspired! post, I decided to focus on inspiration as it comes through at a cross-meeting of influential ideas and material goods; not one or the other, but both, and I didn’t have to look far, as I decided to look to one of the designers who most inspires me.

Being human in nature, we always respond to visual stimuli, making pretty clothes a lure and fascination. It is almost too easy to make pretty clothes now, but yet we still respond with the awe and greed that has become the fuel for our society to be mass consumers. One of the designers I greatly admire is ANGEL CHANG because she has not only found the answer to this issue, but is trying to do something about it with a line that aims to bridge fashion with technology. Her eponymous collection makes me want to do something more for fashion other than make pretty clothes, and that is why I find her so inspiring. I have admiration for people who aim to make a difference in a way that moves forward and may not be readily accepted as a deviation of the norm (most interpretations of “haute tech” conjure up images of neon spacesuits, 80s fashion fads, and distaste – not exactly ready-to-wear for a woman who wants to look fashionable, not ridiculous).

A few pieces from her collections:

From her bio: “Angel Chang is a New York-based fashion designer who creates versatile dressing solutions for worldly women on the go. Her namesake collection, ANGEL CHANG (founded in 2006), grew out of a vision to offer women wardrobes that could actually “do things”—beyond just looking good. The collection’s use of innovative materials—including color-changing prints, light-up fabrics, and self-heating linings—was a first for the American luxury designer market. As a result of these pioneering efforts, the company received the coveted Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award and the prestigious Cartier Women’s Initiative Award within the first year of launching.

The collection’s initial aims were to inspire innovation within the fashion industry and to simultaneously stimulate deeper collaborations with technology companies. Each design was created in collaboration with a range of experienced technologists to offer women versatile designs to compliment their fast-paced and multi-faceted lifestyles. The ANGEL CHANG collection will continue to balance future novelty with everyday practicality as the label grows into a global fashion lifestyle brand.”

What is fascinating to me is that her work incorporates textile design techniques and traditional inspiration with technology, so she really is fusing two worlds. Each piece has something unique and artistic about it – I would expect nothing less of a label that is in the luxury realm, so fashion and art must be in equation, which they are. I love reading about concepts and inspiration behind tangible items, so having a concept for each piece as Angel Chang does on her website resonates with me, and allows further for material goods to be seen as having meaning, utility, and worth (not just the $$ kind).

I encourage everyone to read her manifesto, available for download in PDF format here. This is where it first clicked for me that fashion isn’t just aesthetics and identity. Angel Chang is, however, the only designer off the top of my head who is doing this kind of work – technology-infused fashion for the luxury ready-to-wear market, although other companies are dabbling in it I’m sure. To me, this type of market is more than just a niche; it’s a segment for the more advanced consumer that will one day transition to the mainstream (at least, that’s the hope these “haute tech” designers have, that their influence reaches beyond press and interest, and into actual sales and people wearing their clothes on the streets).

As a young, emerging designer whose ideas have helped shaped mine, Angel Chang is a designer I try to keep up with. Many designers find inspiration from the fashion greats, the 20th century designers who, for the most part, have built fashion empires that are now run by business execs and are no longer bringing fresh ideas to the table beyond aesthetics. I like to find inspiration with young and vibrant creatives, as they have the ability to bridge worlds in a way that previous generations don’t.

FOR MORE…
Angel Chang will be on the new Bravo series THE FASHION SHOW, premiering May 7. I will definitely tune in that, if only to see how her ideas translate to the cutthroat entertainment-focused nature of reality TV.

Visit www.angelchang.com. For updates, she also has a Facebook page.

Have a good week! Thanks for reading.

Inter…course

December 22, 2008

This guy made a robot girlfriend. I shudder at the thought that one day, this will become the norm and there will be such a thing as robot prejudice. But then again, people 1000 years ago probably would’ve shuddered at the thought of face transplants and creating artificial body parts. Or maybe not. Time seems to make anything the norm. That makes me shudder.

post-1015652-1224373053This reminds me of the Japanese movie, Cyborg Girl. That guy probably watched this movie.

Actually this reminds me of a lot of movies.

This is where it gets hard to draw the line between ethics and perceived ethics. It really makes my head hurt just trying to think about it. Is there even a truth out there? (Mulder, help me out.) Tuesdays with Morrie claims that love always wins. I believe that because love has always existed (I think), but is it the only concrete truth in this world?

I’m not a philosopher, just a simple fashion student. I’m going to stop thinking about this now, and go on drawing pretty pictures.

More reads on my wish list

December 22, 2008

After stumbling upon the book mentioned in my previous post (while browsing for Christmas presents online, no less) I decided that it was about time that I take a more academic and focused approach in my quest for knowledge in the field of fashion and technology. The following are two titles I came across, both available on Amazon.

Fashionable Technology

Techno Textiles 2

On my wish list

December 22, 2008

Fashioning Technology: A DIY Intro to Smart Crafting by Syuzi Pakhchya.

Fashioning Technology

I’m going to order this off Amazon and attempt some of the projects myself. I love the idea, and I love how accessible the link between fashion and technology is becoming, and how crafting is experiencing a new hip-ness (exhibit a: Etsy). Even though I’m not really that crafty myself, I’m excited to get my copy! I’d really love to be able to create something interesting and innovative, and so far, I feel like I’ve been at a loss for resources or instructions. This’ll be cool.

Will update on how it goes.

Twenty1F: Fashion for the 21st Century

October 21, 2008

TWENTY1F (or 21F) is a group of designers, researchers, artists &
technologists pushing the boundaries of fashion. We are committed to
exploring and documenting the redefinition of the body and society through
the hybridization of clothing and technology. 21F features news, events,
opportunities, and resources.”

I’ve been looking for a blog like this for a while, and I’ve finally found it. Sometimes there is just so much information everywhere that it is hard to see where the really good stuff is. Lots of interesting tidbits, some seemingly mundane, but I’m glad there are people out there experimenting rather than closing off their minds to possibilities. It’s always good to take a look at these trends as a designer before they become big enough to get mainstream.

This post on one of my favorite blogs, Fashion Incubator, touches on something that I think relates well to this. Creativity is not skill, and often the two get interchanged. These experimenters and technologies are more creative than many people who draw pretty pictures. I see this all the time – artists who create beautiful things, but are unwilling to push the boundaries and do something new, only something more skillful.

What’s in a name?

October 9, 2008

The name Fashion 2.0 is a reference to Web 2.0, “a term describing changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web.” The world is changing as it always has, but technology is doing so at a much faster pace than fashion. Why? Fashion has so many dimensions and is directly related to so many sociological influences. All dimensions must work in collaboration together for mainstream fashion to move forward, and it is difficult to achieve that overnight.

I will repeat this statement over and over again, something I hold to my values: We do not need more clothes in this world – we need better designed clothes, clothes that foster community, growth, and changing values.

And that’s where this new direction is relevant: we are combining industries, harnessing our creativity to become more productive, and using productivity to become more creative. Technology serves us so many purposes – one of those is that we are given so much more leisure time. What have people done with this time? We’ve become a consumer-driven monsters. Tsk tsk. This past year I went on a 4 month shopping ban, and I did well on that, but consider this: my original plan was to last a year.

So 2.0, the next step in fashion, one that goes beyond aesthetics just as the web has gone beyond purely information.

I’d love to meet people who share this philosophy.