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Fashion & Technology Collide on the FAT Runway

Biddell Toronto Star Title image

If fashion is about looking forward, a collection of runway shows at this year’s alternative fashion week provided a glimpse into the future of wearable technology beyond smartwatches.

Fashion Art Toronto, playfully known as FAT, is an annual showcase of art-infused contemporary fashion. This year, the exhibition marked its 10th anniversary with a number of experimental designers who fused fashion and technology.

Toronto-based Wendy Ng showcased Dystropolis, a collection of futuristic fashions where visuals from Toronto photographer Johnathan Castellino were fused onto fabrics using enhanced printing technology.

Beyond wearing lights, Ng foresees interesting possibilities of connecting people to their clothing. “There are infinite opportunities for collaboration between technology and fashion,” she says. “This was my first attempt with wearables, but my ambition is to try something in future that’s connected to the wearer’s heartbeat.”

Design Company House of Etiquette showed cyber punk pieces inspired by night clubs of a dystopian future, while Vandal’s collection featured what they called cyborg suits — a hybrid between robotic and sci-fi fashion.

Kitchener-based Sandra Al-Dabbagh showed Artematics, a collection inspired by elements of the scientific and mathematical world of fractal art and 3D calculus functions. This collection used laser-cutting on neoprene as well as a computer software to create and print custom fabrics.

Judging by applause — and attendance — Evan Biddell’s show was the audience favourite of the evening. More than Human was riddled with intergalactic beings, or lizard people, as he called them.

For his twelve-piece collection, Biddell collaborated with artist Jennifer Walton, who painted on the clothing with invisible UV ink, creating the appearance of reptile skin.

“We used UV paints and played with different lighting to show different dimensions of the clothing” Biddell said.

“The future of fashion is automation in terms of the means of production as well as 3D printing,” says Nina Smart, who with Ashley Davies designs House of Etiquette. “We’re going to see technology that can scan a 3D picture of your body and produce custom pieces. We’ve already seen a 3D printed dress,” she says referencing the gown femme fatale Dita Von Teese wore to a party in New York in 2013.

With Apple’s smartwatch poised to catapult wearables into mass popularity, we’re moving towards a more intimate relationship with our technology; It’s no longer something we hold or put in our purse or pocket — it’s something we wear on our body; it’s something that touches our skin.

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