FIT Museum Trip: Rethinking Materials & Our Perception of Wearables

I visited the FIT Museum on 27th street over the weekend for thesis inspiration. The exhibition, Global Fashion Capitals, showcased a selection of sixteen cities and featured one to three designers from each city.  The chosen pieces were exemplary designs that “merged the local with the global to achieved international appealing fashions.” From Balenciaga’s lime and black cocktail dress to Prada ensemble that used plastic and fleece as metaphors of Deconstructivism, the exhibition housed a variety of designs. I wanted to find pieces that connected with my focus on fashion as materialism and a practice of labor. I was drawn to three pieces in the exhibition from the following cities: Seoul, Berlin, & Sao Paulo.

The first garment from Seoul embodied the country’s focus on industry resources, manufacturing process, and the expansion of fashion education in the 1960s. I made connections between my first thesis prototypes of fabric swatches in relation to the rapid industrial manufacturing business of fashion in Korea. Seoul fashion is always changing at a rapid pace. The 24-hour shopping centers in Dongdaemun produce the latest trends over night and introduced many synthetic cotton blends for “fast fashion.” Many garments sold on the streets therefore, had the illusion of cotton or wool but were not purely made of either. My prototype asked users to match material with functionality, which depended on user perception of the material feel, aesthetic, and weight.  

The second piece was a red dress and sweater set made of leather, fiberglass, and mohair. Marina Hoermanseder’s two piece set from Berlin, represented her focus in corsets and structure. I was intrigued by the hard fiberglass red corset and skeptical if any woman’s body could fit inside without discomfort. The use of fiberglass reminded me of 3D printed technologies merging with fashion such as, plastic and glass. It inspired me to imagine if there are fabrics that look like plastics or glass.

The last piece made by Patbo Patrcia Bonaldi, was a navy dress ornamented with floral-shaped rhinestones made by 3D printing acrylic. The Sao Paulo collection was a recreation of the 1960s use of flower patterns with modern technologies. I was wondered if the use of 3D printing technologies helped fashion garments create more organic looks by manipulating the material such as, smooth and glossy plastics in Patbo’s dress.