New technology and clothing design : effects of new technology on design in clothing manufacture and the potential problems of colleges training designers for an industry undergoing fundamental changes.
The research explores the rationale and the implications of an
imposed curriculum innovation, the introduction of computer aided design,
(CAD), into fashion design courses. The work is a singular, personal
exploration of the phenomenon CAD; it is seeking explanations and does
not attempt to offer generalisations or theories.
The study examines theories and ideas of creativity, and the process
of design in the production of fashion garments. Philosophical,
psychological and physiological ideas and attitudes that cluster around
the concept 'design' are examined. The transient nature of knowledge
assumes increasing importance as the study progresses.
The field work covered three major areas. First, a survey of CAD
systems and their use in the British clothing industry was undertaken in
1985. This provided a 'snapshot' of aims and attitudes towards CAD at
that time. Contacts with the same companies in 1989 showed that some
perceptions of CAD had changed. Second, studies were made of the use of
CAD in the design process. The research was directed towards the
activities of individual students when using CAD, with reference to their
process of design, their thinking style, and their personality. Third,
the possibilities of CAD were explored in a commercial design context.
Theoretical and personal explorations and experiences of the use of CAD
were undertaken and recorded. Design projects and artefacts were
In order to extend knowledge of computer aided design, a CAD system
with a differing set of priorities from established commercial systems
was developed. This was done in co-operation with a commercial software
house, Concept II Research; the software programme ORMUS-FASHION was
created. The system was used in the field studies with students, and for
personal design work.
The research offers new insights into the accessibility of CAD to the
fashion/textile designer, regardless of his or her technological
knowledge. It demonstrates that CAD is not neccessarily a preserve of the
logical mind. The effective use of CAD in the Fashion Industry is related
to a wider set of human characteristics, motives and changing processes
of. creative thought; and these are, of course, very often illogical.
It is a case study which shows knowledge being selectively changed,
intentionally changed, individually changed, collectively changed,
experientially changed, unconsciously changed, inexplicably changed,
continually changed. There is no access to things as they are.