Dutch designer Vera de Pont presented a new way of shopping through interactive, on-the-spot production for her graduation project from the master Fashion Matters at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam.
Two years ago Vera graduated Cum Laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven with her “Pop•Up” project: transformative textiles that need no sewing to transform into a garment of choice. After graduation, she decided to continue her line of thought at the research program Fashion Matters at Sandberg Instituut. With an eclectic background in science, photography and textile design, she combines an interest in the technical with the visual, creating otherworldly scenarios underpinned by technology. The ASSEMBLY LAB shows Vera’s take on the future of fashion production: on-the-spot interactive production of garments through a laboratory of friendly robots. After her two-year research at the Fashion Matters program, Vera enters the fashion industry from a scientific point of view:
“I consider myself a fashion researcher. The driving force behind my work is the need to observe the world around me and to question why things are the way they are. It propels me to think about the future context in which fashion can and will exist and what shape it will take, which, in my opinion, should be completely on demand and not rely on any pre-produced stock. This approach to production touches upon everything, from copyright and privacy related topics, to the software that will be needed and the design of the machines. I elaborate more on these ideas in my thesis project, which are physically supported throughout this exhibition.”
The ASSEMBLY LAB is presented as a new shopping experience, a futuristic lab where prototypes are showcased, but where you have the possibility to download the design and tweak it to your wishes before the final product is made on the spot just for you, thus giving power to the consumer. The lab is presented in the exposition as a gravity-defying layout, with machines (such as a large 3D printer and a shoe repair robot) covering the floor but halfway continuing up against the wall. Bright colored samples present print and material options and assembled garment pieces showcase combinations of executed techniques. A book is on display with inspirational images and Veras’s own manifesto.
The lab is a research project based on the interaction between the wearer and the manufacturing process, which Vera intentionally tries to make as gentle as possible.
“It was important for me that the space wouldn’t exude a technical vibe, but rather a warm environment with approachable machines. The machines are presented as sketches in the exhibition, not functioning, but fully designed. I would like to present technology to the public as I have already seen it behind the scenes: tactile and with a flair of humor.”
Vera de Pont’s ideas elaborate on the very actual topics of co-creation and made-to-measure design in fashion, something she continues to research within her own company and collaborations. Her sportswear line ANOUKXVERA, founded in 2015 with designer Anouk van de Sande, only starts production when an order is placed and her OPEN SOURCE FASHION MANIFESTO (2016), co-written with Martijn van Strien, discusses the fashion industry as a completely open source community.
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