SHOWstudio has been running its Design Download project since 2002, allowing people to take fashion into their own hands. In case you're not familiar, the project brings the patterns from major design houses to the masses: you too can make a Margiela look at home. But this year's edition, featuring look #1 from Sarah Burton's Alexander McQueen S/S 20 collection, has seen a spate of computer-generated submissions, as creatives across the world interpret the pattern through digital means.
Fashion has, for a long time, flirted with digital means of production, from digital printing (a technique that propelled Mary Katrantzou's designs to fame) and digital draping (as used by Per Götesson in his menswear collections) to digital collections: new companies like the Danish brand Carlings and the Dutch design studio The Fabricant sell and produce digital-only clothes that are Photoshopped onto an image of the wearer.
In these Design Download submissions being digitally realised, the creatives' (Aire Laufos, Haz Sam, Iano Huang, Suza Vos, Daniel Paredes) work is incredibly prescient of many countries' sudden emphasis on virtual working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When you can't make it to the workshop, or are quarantined without your sewing machine, what can you still do with what you have to hand i.e. your laptop? As noted by many across the industry, working virtually presents its own challenges but opens up new approaches to creativity. Fashion has been, necessarily, associated with physical, tangible objects for much of its long history–what else could clothes be, but real objects?–but as our lives are spent increasingly in intangible spaces, fashion itself seems to be bursting through its reliance on the physical. What does it mean to build without touch?
Delve into the wondrous virtual explorations via our Design Download submissions gallery, and check out Design Downloads from years past too.