2 Unique Tech-Inspired Collections

Tech-Inspired Collections

Herbert Victoria Summer 2015 Collection #DROID – Fashion in the Digital Age

SAN FRANCISCO, United StatesSilicon Valley Fashion Week was held in San Francisco last month with an emphasis on the intersection of fashion and technology. Industry leaders were buzzing about designers with recent tech-inspired collections. We tracked down two San Francisco-based designers Herbert Williamson and ILANIO to discuss their unique tech-inspired Summer 2015 collections. The designs created a stir in the Bay Area, especially, as Williamson’s Herbert Victoria line is about to launch its new summer 2015 collection, titled – #DROID – Fashion in the Digital Age in mid-June. The ILANIO Summer 2015 collection, titled COBOL77 and the Soft Architecture of Your Body, had already debuted on 1st June of last year, “Flash Mob” style at San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center. But the avant-garde collection resurfaced during talks of fashion and technology. We had the opportunity to speak candidly with both designers about their recent collections and what inspired them.

Herbert Victoria Summer 2015 Collection

#DROID – Fashion in the Digital Age

Our society is pretty much dependent on high-tech digital devices such as phones, computers, television, scanners and printers. We are immersed in a digital culture where virtually every day we are using these technological devices when talking, texting, watching, reading or looking at images. The digital images we see are thousands of tiny pixels combining RGB (red, green, blue) and CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key), the basic digital print colour spectrum. Williamson was inspired by how together these colours formulate an image on our devices. He conceptually designed his Summer 2015 Herbert Victoria #DROID collection using this colour model to recreate summer’s new pastels. The rich pastel tones are in red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow and grey. Each design contains all 7 hues arranged in a colour-blocking pattern replicating the lattice of pixels. As Williamson explains:

“This tech-inspired concept is one of my most creative, fun and interactive approach in design. I applied a tech element of colours to the collection without literally making it a ‘wearable tech’.”

It is not technology in fashion, but a unique personification of technology and fashion.

Every look from the collection is a one-of-a-kind. This gives it an element of couture because no two dresses are alike in colour. The palette of 7 colour-blocking shades are positioned differently on every garment so that only the silhouette remains the same. Thus, we have the option to select the dress with the colour-blocking pattern that best suits our taste. Williamson continues:

“The name #DROID was derived from modern technology with the idea that the dress is the device and we select the image.”

This concept allows the consumer to veer away from basic neutrals, and have fun by artistically incorporating colours into their summer wardrobe.

This collection is Williamson’s first RTW (Ready-to-Wear) line. It consists of sporty dresses, a romper, short and crop top with modern silhouettes in 7 varieties of candied colour-blocking styles and sizes ranging from 2 to 8. Colour variances in the collection are contrasting to compliment one another for a sophisticated, yet girlie look. The #DROID collection is crafted from 100% organic hemp and cotton fibres and manufactured locally in San Francisco. Additionally, the fabrics are cut and piece-dyed by hand for less water waste. So the entire collection is made from sustainable Eco-friendly materials. He adds:

I use 100% organic Eco-friendly fabrics made in San Francisco to support sustainability and the locals within the industry.

Williamson considers himself as a RTW designer and essentially wants to design mainstream clothing for the masses. His previous collections have debuted at Phoenix Fashion Week, with his future plans to design apparel inspired by travel. The idea is with each new collection, to create a unique colour or design story based on his travels from around the world. The Herbert Victoria line connects culture with fashion. It is designed for the confident woman with an open-mind, a traveller, an admirer of art and one who likes to stand out from the crowd.

For our loyal FG readers, use promo code: DROIDHV to get 15% discount off Herbert Victoria’s #DROID collection at www.HerbertVictoria.com. This offer is valid until 13th July, 2015. It only works one time per order, and there are only 50 available. So hurry and order yours today!

ILANIO Summer 2015 Collection

COBOL77 and the Soft Architecture of Your Body

The ILANIO Summer 2015 COBOL77 collection is on the cutting-edge of fashion. Let’s be clear – ILANIO’s influence is not derived from turning technology into a fashion statement. The collection is only inspired by technology in that the design construction uses computer 3D layout and printing to create its shape. In fact, the designer is not a fan of “wearable tech” and says:

“Our lives are already filled with so much digital detritus — empty CG effects that are supposed to take the place of real content in film, or the atrocity of ‘wearable tech’ masquerading as fashion, as if slapping some LED’s and motion sensors on a person is a sufficient artistic statement! – I do not want to add to that noise.”

If anything has been lost in the latest wave of the tech revolution, it is an awareness of the need for content.

Tech-Inspired Collections

ILANIO Summer 2015 Collection COBOL77 and the Soft Architecture of Your Body Summer
Photo by Warren Difranco / after5media.com

Ironically, the ILANIO COBOL77 collection had somewhat of a retro-tech aesthetic (hence the name), intentionally created for artistic reasoning. The line consists of dresses, jackets, swimsuits, shoes, bags and sunglasses constructed using computer 3D printing technology. Yet ILANIO purposely hid the tech “fingerprint” involved in the design and prototyping. He gives us an example of how it was done.

“For instance, although the bubble shoes were designed entirely on the computer as 3D shapes and involved much 3D printing, using these tools was simply the easiest way to create the designs; the 3D printer ‘aesthetic’ – jagged complex lines in cheap off-white plastic – is never visible and intentionally so.” He goes on to explain where he draws his influence for the collection.

Tech-Inspired Collections

ILANIO Summer 2015 Collection COBOL77 and the Soft Architecture of Your Body Summer
Photo by Warren Difranco / after5media.com

“I feel I am tuned in to a channel of the collective unconscious, one with a select group of listeners, all of whom are sensitised to the same aesthetic symbols (form) and share similar values (content). We are all receiving the same messages and they compel us to express them in different ways. My particular way to express them is just a function of the skills and experiences I happen to have accumulated in my life.”

ILANIO considers himself to be an artist first – doing a concept piece as a designer. An outsider, an alien trying to understand the strange and fascinating language we call fashion. And if you follow his work, you would see that his collections are not wearable and also not meant to be marketed to the public. In fact, one could say that COBOL77 is more like a fashion project rather than collection, mainly because the pieces are more of an art expression and not meant to be sold, or worn by the masses. Many of the pieces in the ILANIO Summer 2015 COBOL77 collection are not wearable, and he explains why:

The designs are to explore fashion ideas without the limitations of wearability or saleability. This line is the most wearable and the only one intended to lead to commercial possibilities.

The COBOL77 collection has some reoccurring motifs such as spheres, bubbles, nubs, plastics and other content such as sexuality, gender and the interplay between biology and spirituality. ILANIO uses a lot of materials like silicone, steel, acrylic and some vinyl, rubber and synthetic fabrics to create that futuristic space-age look with minimalist forms that harken back to the 20th century utopian modernism of Cardin’s designs from the 70’s. The concept starts out as a vision sketched out onto paper. Then worked into 3D forms on the computer. From there, the path diverges, depending on the ultimate materials. As ILANIO explains:

“The acrylic bubbles on the shoes, for example, required 3D printing molds into which heated acrylic tubes were inflated to take on the bubble shape. (It is not a new technology – blow molding has been around as long as acrylic has, but trying to re-invent it in my studio was a challenge, to say the least. At one point the plug on the acrylic bubble blew out and shattered a window in my studio!) But each design has its own process – its own adventure filled with many pitfalls and triumphs.”

He tends to work with colours in alternation – every other line either colourful or monochromatic. This collection is monochromatic with a futuristic vibe. However, his previous lines were full of vibrant colours! (Check out Too Hot the Eye of Heaven and Nightlife On Other Planets). We asked this talented designer why that is, and his explanation:

Not sure how that happened. Perhaps it’s because I have both minimalist and maximalist tendencies and need to explore them separately.

As an artistic designer who is not money-driven to create apparel that goes mainstream, ILANIO prefers a connection with people for whom his work resonates with, both audience and collaborators. He continues: “My only ‘financial’ interest is to be able to sustain my work, and to allow it to grow in whatever way is called for by the internal logic of its process. It’s a shame that there are these barriers between audience, artist and industry. But they are starting to break down, and I am happy to help that process along.”

ILANIO is an avant-garde visionary designer who tends to push the envelope in fashion. He makes a strong artistic presentation when launching a collection. As he states: “Women would have to be extremely daring and adventurous to wear my designs! But there may be more accessible work coming down the pike, for which I imagine the audience would be fashion-aware urban creatives, who are intelligent and evolved, hungry for content instead of empty ornamentation, for authentic self-expression rather than pop-song clichés.”

Tiffany Le About the author

Wardrobe consultant and fashion writer who owns a Bay Area luxe tailoring boutique. Believes in karma, human rights and being earth-friendly. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a degree in Fashion Design from San Francisco Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; and inspires others to be confident and beautiful from inside out.