Using Big Data to design small dress forms seems very "in The Future" - and while it certainly is, this part of The Future has already arrived. “Data reveals facts about objects and people but design tells a story in an emotional way, that can be influential to feelings of well-being," says Caroline Yan Zheng, a recent graduate of London College of Fashion with an MA in Fashion Futures.
Her work utilizes data from the Gross National Happiness (GNH) survey with six months worth of self-tracked data on her own emotions. Both data sets were then combined to create a "deformed" dress-form dummy on a mission. "It questions individual identity under the social norm on well-being and promotes self-empowerment," she explains. "A dummy with different measurements embodies the individual struggle when having to conform to social norm for validation as well as questions the stereotyped body shape in the fashion design process."
The reason her work strikes me as so forward-looking is that it's such an interesting way she's chosen to illustrate the power of data to show us how we view ourselves - in our bid to figure out who we are. "Unlike data-visualization, I wanted to create a narrative in a 3D real life object that interacts with the body. I hope to promote self-empowerment and suggest new ways that design can be a creative communicator...Many Chinese young people have their individual emotion well-being undermined by an overwhelming monetary social value," she adds, and can't really "describe these feelings via words." And while a picture is worth at least 1000 of them, a 3D fashion-referenced reflection of the (wo)man in the mirror...well now, that's an overwhelming number.
- Lesley Scott
Actively embracing the future - from technology to traditional gender roles - with a desire to make it fashionable and timely is a signature of the Futurenetic fashion tribe. For more of my posts and podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.