What happens when design meets fashion? We bring insights into one of the most promising projects of 2014: Descience, where clothes will be designed drawing inspiration from the latest scientific discoveries!
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MILAN, Italy — What happens when science meets fashion? One of the most promising projects in 2014 has ingeniously intertwined two creative fields to give birth to Descience: an initiative that connects the world of science and fashion. Descience creates collaborations between designers and scientists and brings research to the runway, providing a platform for both emerging designers and advanced research. “We envision Descience to be an on-going project. Our long-term mission is to create a Fellowship for a graduate student from an emerging economy to travel and conduct science abroad,” explains Dr. Yuly Fuentes-Medel, Descience Executive Director.

Introducing Descience Initiative

The team is composed of around 60 scientists from diverse fields of research and from all over the world, including Europe, USA and South America. Through their researches they provide images and ideas that are the starting point for fashion designers’ work. The clothes will be designed drawing inspiration from scientific discoveries. Designers and scientists will collaborate to create a runway look, they will brainstorm together and agree upon a creative vision for the project and its execution. Up to 50 teams will be chosen by a panel of advisors to be part of the Descience Runway Collection that will take place in Autumn, 2014.

The Descience team has developed a four step process:

  • Inspiration
  • Connection
  • Collaboration
  • Runway show

The concept was born from an idea of Dr. Fuentes-Medel who was in the search for new and effective channels of science communication:

“I was stunned by the similarities between the worlds of Fashion and Science. Scientists as well as designers, work towards the same direction, that is, to create something unknown and to introduce change and innovation to the world. This realisation encouraged me to provide a platform in which the two worlds are fused to synergise their efforts.”

The goal of Descience is “to nurture collaborations between science and Fashion to create tangible science and innovative designs. Science will benefit from Fashion by providing a new language for public outreach and Science will open up a new world of inspiration to Fashion.”

Dr. Laura Indolfi
Dr. Laura Indolfi

One of the scientists involved is Dr. Laura Indolfi, an Italian Biomedical Engineer, who is currently finishing up her research focused on tissue engineering for regenerative medicine and smart biomaterials for drug delivery devices at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Dr. Indolfi walks us through her research and her entry into Descience.

Dr. Laura Indolfi Interview

What is the goal of your research?

It is to design a synthetic material for cell support that can trick the cells to release selected factors that are most appropriate to fight a specific disease creating powerful cell-therapies to regenerate damaged tissue. In particular, I am interested in endothelial cells, the cells lining the blood vessel, and in comparing their behaviour when grown on flat surfaces with those grown on three-dimensional scaffolds.

Why did you decide to take part to this project?

I thought that this could be a good occasion to give a different vision of the researcher. I am a woman and I like fashion and it has been interesting thinking of my research also from another point of view, as a source of inspiration for a designer! Moreover thanks to some of the images presented at the Descience, I verified that endothelial cells seeded on a contoured substratum adapt their morphology to the material they are in contact with, by bending and wrapping around it. I have shown that such morphological change alters their physiological behaviour and those cells grown on 3-D structures are more effective at repairing damage and suppressing inflammation.

I like the fact that two very different fields, like fashion and science, can work together to create a new language and to explore new ideas. A great synergy that I am sure will generate some beautiful and innovative fashion items.

Descience has recently completed the process of recruiting Fashion Designers, now we just have to wait until 17 February to see which designers will be selected by the scientists. A wonderful task for those who will have the talent in translating scientific discovery into a visual message and presenting their creations at the Runway Show this Autumn! We will be closely following Descience!

Descience - Research by Dr Laura Indolfi
Descience – Research by Dr Laura Indolfi
Descience - Proteins by Constance Jeffery
Descience – Proteins by Constance Jeffery
Descience - Purple parasite by Serena Cervantes
Descience – Purple parasite by Serena Cervantes