KSU Museum exhbits fashion and technology

Jake Green

iPhones. Tablets. LED televisions. Technology is everywhere now. We interact with it at the doctor’s office and at restaurants. We’re constantly itching for the next new thing, but we rarely think of technology as it affects fashion.

The current exhibit at the Kent State University Museum is aiming to change that.

“Shifting Paradigms: Fashion + Technology” examines the future of fashion, as technology plays its role in creativity, sustainability and business,” said Kent State Museum Director Jean Druesedow.

“Using new zero-waste, made-on-demand methods allows the industry to stop its practices of ordering 50,000 pieces in China and having to dump 30,000 in Honduras,” she said.

Druesedow believes that the fashion industry is one of the most wasteful in the world with its excessive waste and pollution. “Shifting Paradigms” showcases a curated collection of designers using technology to enhance sustainable design, creativity and aesthetics.

“Fashion isn’t going to be able to exist the way that it does,”said co-curator and associate professor Noël Palomo-Lovinski. “the way the industry just spits out the same sort of thing over and over again.”

Palomo-Lovinski said sustainability and creativity go hand-in-hand. As clothing can become unique, a consumer will be able to express his or herself more.

“As we moved more and more to this mass fashion, there’s less and less that’s individually significant,” she said. “Sustainability is part-and-parcel with that. It’s about clothes that we can hold onto for longer periods of time. It’s how we create something new and innovative.”

These kinds of technologies have played an important role in big-name designer’s collections like Alexander McQueen’s spring 2010 collection and Hussein Chalayan’s fall 2013 collection but technological opportunities are becoming more accessible every day. The Kent State Fashion School unveiled its TechStyleLAB — a digital textile facility open to students and the public — last year, bringing new technologies to students.

“The TechStyleLAB is meant to be an open studio,” Palomo-Lovinski said. “The sky’s the limit to come and play with it. We underestimate the power of play, of experimentation and the power of mistakes.”

Druesedow imagines that Shifting Paradigms could be a good starting point for inspiration for any number of majors.

“A lot of students in architecture and computer science have visited because there are possibilities, not to copy but to stimulate their own creative thinking,” Druesdow said. “It’s all about inspiration.”

Senior fashion design major Gregory Hanwell said that he finds a lot of inspiration from what the industry can do with new techniques.

“It’s a really interesting time in fashion,” Hanwell said. “There are a lot of up-and-coming designers able to use technologies like 3D printing in unimaginable ways.”

“Shifting Paradigms” will be open at the Kent State University Museum until August 31, 2014. More information on the exhibit can be found on the Kent State– Museum’s website.

Jake Green is the fashion reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact Jake at [email protected].