Future Proof was part of SEAMLESS VISIONS, the 19th Annual Subtle Technologies Festival. The show was held at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. The festival invites a curious public to engage with ideas at the leading-edge of Canadian creativity while acting as a physical node for collaboration and exchange between diverse communities working across disciplines.
Future Proof was an experimental fashion show that featured collaborations between teams of artists, designers and technologists investigating the delicate balance between progress and practicality.
This show came shortly after The Met Gala and had similar themes as The Met Gala. The theme for this year's gala was Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology. The Costume Institute's exhibit explores how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. The exhibition addresses the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production. It explores this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and questions the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.
The exhibition includes embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork, presented alongside versions that incorporate innovative processes, such as 3D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. A room dedicated to the ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking reflects the traditional division of a maison de couture.
Prior to the runway show, there was Cloaked in Code, a screening of international video art and animation. The show kicked off with a wearables performance by Maziar Ghaderi, featuring vocalist Kimya Hypolite. "Detroit 2311: A Requiem For That Which Once Was" was a series of love songs for the ghosts of Motown trapped in computers. Voice-activated graphics, live vocalist and dead musical accompaniment.
In a comic turn of events, at first, the projector wasn't working. Technology is great...when it works. Once they got the projector working, the audience was treated to a beautiful performance. I've posted a video snippet on Instagram. It brought to mind the Zac Posen dress that Claire Danes wore to The Met Gala.
The rest of the show featured experimental collaborations between teams of artists, designers and technologists using diverse materials and methods of construction. We were shown designs that incorporated wireless technology, 3D printing, and repurposed industrial materials.
Each set of looks explored a different facet of wearable tech that begged the increasingly important question: How can fashion be revolutionary yet everlasting?
Story and photos by Glodeane Brown