ONE OF AMSTERDAM'S CUTTING-EDGE DESIGNERS

ON 3D PRINTING, INNOVATIVE TEXTILES, AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES...

The technology of 3D printing interests me very much! I recently developed a new neckpiece in collaboration with Freedom Of Creation. I definitely want to keep working with it, especially since I think there is much more to explore and develop. When it comes to incorporating it in a garment I think there are many challenges to overcome. My aim would be to create a surface that is more flexible and wearable, so it doesn’t become a static object or shape surrounding the body but a texture that moves with the body. With my designs I often start from the material. I research it’s qualities and the way it acts on the body. This results in a sculptural aesthetic. (Pauline's 3D printed shoes above, and neckpiece below.)

Of course there are also other upcoming technologies that I’m drawn to. Actually I always prefer to work like a researcher. I like to work with new materials or techniques especially because it’s often an experience full of surprises and something from which I learn a lot.

ON 'HER' SUSTAINABILITY AND TIMELESSNESS...

I’m not a sustainable designer in a way that I work with ecological fabrics/materials. Sustainability is not neccesarily my starting point, but it’s something that plays a role within my vision. My work is not trend based and I want my designs to be modern and timeless. It does appeal to me to in the future develop a certain method of fabrication or construction of my designs that can be sustainable.

ON HER RECENT PROJECTS...

Recently I developed an electronic garment with flip-dots (below). During a one month Artist in Residency in Vienna (August 2012), I developed my “Flip-Dot Dress” in collaboration with engineer/robot hacker Daniel Schatzmayr [AT]. This interactive garment is made up of 600 kinetic flip-dots, small magnet-activated discs. I got fascinated by flip-dots because of the fact that they merge both analogue and digital technology. They have a physical presence and tactility, emphasized by their flickering sound, that nowadays digital technology often lacks. The dots can be individually addressed by a computer to animate mesmerizing patterns swirling around the body.

Next to this new piece I’ve used several unconventional materials in my previous collections. I’ve worked with ‘synthetic crin’, a braided nylon mesh,’buntal’ which is a woven wood fiber from the Philippines and a certain type of material that is used to reinforce the inside of car tires. Working with unconventional materials and new techniques challenges me to investigate the application, processing and finishing of it in a garment.

ON COLLABORATING...

I really enjoy collaborating with other companies, designers or engineers. Especially when it comes to a certain disciplines or knowledge I’m not familiar with. I’m very eager to learn and love to experience new things. I’m constantly driven by my own curiosity- since it always teaches a lot and gives new perspective. I think it would be super interesting to design a space suit. At the moment I’m working with a company that makes bulletproof vests, which is also an exciting product!

ON HER MOTTO 'INNOVATION IS THE ONLY WAY FORWARD' AND THE INDUSTRY'S FUTURE...

I think the industry will be forced to think more forward and work more and more in a problem solving way; certain systems can’t last forever and changes need to be made. I think technology supports the ever evolving nature of design. Fashion is always rapidly changing and can therefore incorporate the newest developments. Young designers are not as much ‘stuck’ in the system as bigger companies can be, which makes them more flexible, inventive and innovative.

ON FASHION AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY...

Technology can make a huge difference. It's interesting to look at developments in high performance sportswear, for instance how they develop suits that reduce drag. And especially also intelligent clothing designed for military or space applications have amazing features. Topics like intelligent design of digital crafting really interest me. Personally I’d like to focus on material explorations on the body and investigate how garments could help us interact or could support our movements or even thoughts/feelings. But overall much more research needs to be done to incorporate fashion technology in social life.

ON TAKING FASHION TECHNOLOGY FURTHER THAN NOVELTY AND GADGETS...

Yes it definitely can go further than that. Regarding wearable technology, we are just at the start of it. If you look at what’s possible with new developments in nano technology or if you look at the technology in high tech combat suits and space suits. Also electronics are becoming increasingly smaller, flexible and stretchable. I think it's highly important to be very critical in order to move 'fashion tech' forward and make it more substantial, conceptual and relevant. It needs to move away from being gadgets.

ON WHAT'S NEXT...

At the moment I’m working on the development of a new collection which also incorporates new shoe designs and accessories. The focus lies on material exploration and researching the space between the body and the garment. Next to this I’m involved in the application for a PhD in fashion and technology, but this request first needs to be honored.

WRITTEN BY Bacall Michaels