Science plays a major role in design development of fashion clothing and accessories, just a glimpse into the past will confirm enough to be true. It’s not a jumbled business of cloth and colours loosely thrown together, rather, a well organised industry driven by the sciences, from market research to weaving, printing, dyeing, pattern making, branding and labelling; scientific intervention supports artist’s continuum.
Want an example or two: English Madder Print: The colouring agent in madder root called alizarin was in fact first chemically extracted and then synthesized in 1869 by two English chemists. Although the dyeing process, even today, requires a variety of painstaking steps, synthesized alizarin brought the price within the reach of commercial producers. Testimony to the significant part science plays ensuring the longevity of styles and textiles. Silk dyed in this manner is characterized by a dusty-looking finish and a feel (referred to as a chalk hand by the experts) very much like fine suede, and a matte finish.
In 1879 Thomas Burberry developed a fabric which was weatherproofed in the yarn before weaving, using a secret process and then proofed again in the piece, using the same undisclosed formula. The new material was untearable and weatherproof, whilst cool and breathable. He called the cloth -gabardine’ and registered the word as a trademark. This is science.
Possessing a degree in science is not pre requisite to being a good designer, utilising scientific disciplines is advisable if you want your designs to hit the streets running rather than ending up in good Samaritans charity bins. A little business acumen always comes in handy and knowing what your customers want is critical. Above all, being in the right place at the right time is the key to success.
Timothy Everest, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood are just three examples that combined their design skills with business acumen and chanced to be in the right place and the right time. All attribute their success to chance, a would be cyclist, an advertisement in the paper and punk took them all in the same direction on different paths, now producing some of the most original fashion accessories in the market place
Let’s put all the technicalities aside. Without disciplined inspiration all the science and psychology fall on numb bodies, clothing must inspire the buyer as much as the designer, the message is portrayed in the colours, pattern and textures, combined to express season and inspiration.
And what about psychology; A little self indulgence creates a healthy state of mind, better to be happy than sad, retail therapy is certainly a good remedy for the blues, lets face it we’ve all been there many times. And to rid yourself of any guilt after the act, buy something for your loved one. A bit of psychology.
To finalise, summarise and self indulge I have written a brief critique on one of my favourite silk tie designs, I designed it, It’s not without all the elements of good design as mentioned.
Subtle Significance a geometric floral silk ties: a subtle mauve heart first catches your eye. And then golden geometric petals shimmer slightly and draw you closer, accentuated by midnight blue. Lastly, the hefty weave adds just the right amount of texture for a little masculine handle to the femininity of floral patterns. Significant, but subtle.