UNI+FORM: CONSTRAINTS AND POSSIBILITIES IMPLICIT IN AN UNUSUAL CLOTHING FORM
Hélène Day Fraser | Keith Doyle
Emily Carr University
In the spring of 2013 an investigative exercise titled Uni+form was conducted at a Canadian University of Art + Design. This short-term research project was part of a broader long-term research cluster made up of an interdisciplinary team of designers, engineers, artists and weavers and titled cloTHING(s) as conversation. The cloTHING(s) as conversation initiative began in September 2011. It is based on the keen observation that existing systems of garment making and distribution are in flux and seeks to revise common assumptions about how we should and can interface with everyday textile based products. In particular cloTHING(s) as conversation aims to address the challenges connected to contemporary design, fashion, nascent technology and the fashion industry’s move towards sustainability. A series of explorations into the fabric of exchange that exists between the clothing we wear and conversations we have are being developed to trigger and illustrate the potential for clothing to affect it’s own discrete origin within the fashion machine. Material – and form – based studies, generative and cultural probe techniques, and in situ explorations are integral to the endeavor. As a reflective research exercise set within this framework Uni+form has focused on personal affordances and individual perspectives often overlooked when designing socially responsible and responsive wearables – namely the key roles that constraint and ambiguity play in the design process.