Fashion Technology Exhibitions Highlight New Approaches to Haute Couture

Two upcoming exhibitions, Coded_Couture and Manus x Machina, will highlight artists and designers who are exploring what’s possible with fashion technology in haute couture.

Pratt Manhattan, New York
February 12-April 30, 2016

Opening during New York Fashion Week, the Coded_Couture exhibition asks visitors to consider: “Is coding the ultimate design tool for creating customized garments and accessories?”

Curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox of curatorsquared, the show features the work of 10 artist-designers. Their approach to personalization is in the spirit of haute couture, but their methodology is rooted in coding. The designers are pioneering ways to use bio-sensors and other technology to gather real-time information about the wearer or viewers that substantially  transforms the aesthetics of the work.

The Coded_Couture exhibit opens at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery February 12 and will run through April 30 before traveling to other sites. For details see:
The Coded_Couture exhibit opens at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery February 12 and will run through April 30 before traveling to other sites. For details see:

For example, Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz of Cute Circuit have designed garments with built-in electronics and sensors. Some garments change color based on social-media feedback.

Cute Circuit's Light Up Twitter Dress
Fashion tech firm Cute Circuit created this “Light Up Twitter” dress. Shown here worn by singer Nicole Scherzinger, the dress is made up of more than 2,000 LED lights and illustrated tweets received in real time with the hashtag #tweetthredress. Photo: CuteCircuit,

In a speculative design called “The Holy Dress,” Melissa Coleman has incorporated bio-sensors that can detect when the wearer of the dress isn’t telling the truth.

In a post on Fast Company Design, co-curator Ginger Gregg Duggan points out that “Like couture is meant to be shaped to your physical measurements, this takes it to the next level in how fashion can reflect your psyche and your interaction with others and the world at large.”

For a project entitled "[No]Where, [Now]Here," Ying Gao created two dresses that combine super organaza, photoluminescent thread and embedded eye-tracking technology to create a dress. The luminosity of the thread is activated by the spectator's gaze. (
For a project entitled “[No]Where, [Now]Here,” Ying Gao created two dresses that combine super organza, photoluminescent thread and embedded eye-tracking technology. The thread’s luminosity is activated by the spectator’s gaze. (
Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Costume Institute
May 5-August 14, 2016

The Manus x Machina exhibition will explore how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.

“Fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before,” said Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Met. “It is timely to examine the roles that the handmade and the machine-made have played in the creative process.” While the hand-made is often presented as the opposite of machine-made, “This exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine are mutual and equal protagonists.”

The exhibition is made possible by Apple, with additional support provided by Conde Nast.

“Both the automated and handcrafted processes require similar amounts of thoughtfulness and expertise,” said Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer. “There are instances where technology is optimized, but ultimately it’s the amount of care put into the craftsmanship (whether it’s machine-made or handmade) that transforms ordinary materials into something extraordinary.”

The Manus x Machina exhibition will feature more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear, dating from an 1880s Worth gown to a 2015 Chanel suit. The exhibition will reflect on the founding of haute couture in the 19th century when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of the distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of industrialization and mass production.

The galleries will present a series of displays on  embroidery, feathers, pleating, knitting, lacework, leatherwork, braiding, and fringework and contrast them with ensembles that incorporate new fashion technology such as 3D printing, laser cutting, thermo shaping, computer modeling, circular knitting, ultrasonic welding, and bonding and laminating.


Coded Couture

Manus x Machina


New Website Helps You Produce and Ship Small Runs of Custom Designed Apparel

DESIGNERS. ARTISTS. The website enables designers to visualize, produce, and deliver small batches of their exclusive designs of apparel and accessories. Or, artists can promote and/or monetize some of their works by converting them into merchandise. You can preview your creations in 3D in the chosen style and size before approving it for manufacturing.

Right now, you can decorate more than 30 products including T-shirts, tunics, shorts, backpacks, dresses, scarves, trousers, and messenger bags. Sell the items through Etsy or on your own website.

“One of the barriers for emerging designers has been access to an easy and affordable manufacturing platform,” says Lee Hagelshaw, co-founder and CFO for With, you can produce designs under your own label and have them shipped direct to customers, without having to pay for a larger run from a manufacturer and being stuck with excess inventory.” And like e-books, no design ever goes ‘out of print’ because all products are made on-demand.


“We have continually improved our platform. Features such as advanced error checking point out any problems in visual design. Auto-fit, mirror and clone functions make it much easier for any creative individual to design professional looking products,” says Bala Selvarajan, Co-Founder and Chief Technologist for “We have also added a much requested feature from designers – the ability to select and reorder their older designs.”

As a pioneer in full custom, design-your-own apparel and accessories, vPersonalize’s 3D visualization and automated pattern-generation technologies support custom sizes, full-bleed, all-overprints, custom styles and choice of fabrics.


Designers to Show Styles Created with Digital Dye Sublimation During New York Fashion Week

With the announcement of their “Digital Couture” project, Epson is continuing to inspire creatives!

When Epson collaborated with world-class photographers, they helped make pigment-ink prints suitable for museum exhibitions of fine art photography. Epson StylusPro printers gave professional photographers greater control over how their enlarged prints would look.

Now Epson is showing fashion and textile designers some of the creative possibilities of top-quality dye-sublimation inkjet printing. During New York Fashion Week February 8-13, Epson will host a “Digital Couture” event.

Digital+Couture+Proyect+Final_midEpson is teaming up with 11 select fashion designers from New York, Los Angeles and Latin America to demonstrate how fashion and textile designers can use Epson SureColor F-Series dye-sublimation printing technology to bring their ideas and inspiration to life.

“We are excited for today’s fashion designers to bring their creative visions to fabric in new and versatile ways with advanced digital technologies during New York Fashion Week,” said Agustin Chacon, VP, subsidiary sales and operations, Epson America, Inc. “Epson’s dye-sublimination printing technology provides another level of creativity and functionality for young fashion entrepreneurs and well-established fashion brands looking to produce their in a more efficient and affordable manner.” In the dye-sublimation printing, designs and images are printed with specialized inks onto a transfer paper.

Epson SureColor F7170 dye-sublimation printer
Epson SureColor F7170 dye-sublimation printer

When the printed transfer paper and blank polyester fabrics are run through a heat transfer press, the Epson dye-sublimation inks on the paper permeate the surface of the fabric. The printed fabric retains its softness and wearability because the inks don’t sit stiffly on the surface of the garment.

Dye sublimation is already a popular method of decorating performance apparel for marathons, cycling races, and other sports events. The process is also used to make photo gifts, and custom-designed snowboards.

Epson SureColor F-Series dye sublimation printing technology offers designers a versatile, accessible, high-quality method of printing for printing short runs of polyester fabrics that can be cut and sewn into garments or sold for use in other textile goods.

In keeping with Epson’s proven expertise in image reproduction, the Epson SureColor F-Series are designed to produce sharp, vivid images with rich colors, intense blacks, and smooth gradations on fabric. This capability provides greater freedom and control in printing original designs that will define your signature style.

“Art + Fashion Meets Technology” Show in Las Vegas

At the 2014 SGIA Expo for digital printing businesses in Las Vegas, Epson hosted a poolside fashion show entitled “Art + Fashion Meets Technology.” Models showcased a collection of resortwear designs that were printed on demand on the SureColor F7170 64-inch dye-sublimation printers. CAWEpson Beachwear Fashion Show_Welcome The designs were brought to life under the guidance of Carol Yeager, the owner and creative director of MY Prints, a Los Angeles-based digital sublimation print house that prints fabrics for the apparel and movie industry.

Carol started her fashion career more than 10 years ago and has held Design Director and Merchandiser positions for leading garment/textile companies in Los Angeles. Her designs have been sold in major department and mass-retail stores, including Nordstrom, Macy’s Kohl’s, and Target. Yeager is known for her instincts in color and trend forecasting with technical knowledge.

Carol Yeager
Carol Yeager

For the “Art + Fashion Meets Technology” fashion show, Yeager said her goal was to create a visually graphic collection with vibrant colors and whimsical earthy elements. Her garment designs fused contemporary artwork by artist Sohail J. Coelho and fashion-forward silhouettes with the drape and movement of the sublimated fabric created with Epson’s advancements in dye sublimation.

“I love that there was a story behind each print,” said Yeager. “I designed swimsuits and cover-ups that would best showcase the prints as well as the beauty of the woman’s form. I kept the silhouettes refined and elegant.”

Garments featured in the show included geometric deep-V one-piece swimsuits paired with a colorful, maxi-length kimono for a poolside party, a graphic black-and-white athletic one-piece layered with a short, matching feminine cocoon kimono for a backyard barbecue, and a playful rash guard paired with a lotus flower bikini bottom for a surfer girl ready to catch a wave.

CAWEpson Dye Sub Garments_Solo 9

CAWEpson Dye Sub Garments_Solo 3

“I was very particular about the fabrics used to maintain the high-end look,” said Yeager. “Finding the right polyester fabric is key to maintaining a nice hand. The swimsuits were made from a Poly Spx swim fabric and the cover-ups and kimonos were made with a Poly sheer chiffon and Poly woven with a silk hand.”

Yeager said the beauty of digital dye sublimation is immediate gratification. The collection for the fashion show at SGIA Expo was designed, printed and sewn in less than a week: “With dye-sublimation printing, there really are no boundaries or restrictions to designing and executing prints. Samples can be printed within days of conception, and a collection can come to life in the fraction of time it used to take with old methods like pigment or wet printing.”

She believes the advances in dye-sublimation will change the way that apparel world can capitalize on speed-to-market trends. Eleven designers who are early adopters of digital sublimation printing will be featured at the “Digital Couture” event during New York Fashion Week. The designers include:

  • Ay Not Dead from Argentina
  • Pilar Briceño from Colombia
  • Dual from Costa Rica
  • ESOSA from New York City
  • Leonor Silva representing the Caribbean (Venezuela to Miami)
  • Elisa Guillén from Ecuador
  • Maggie Barry from Los Angeles
  • Marco Antonio Farías from Chile
  • Mariana Morrell from Brazil
  • Moah Saldaña from Peru
  • Pineda Covalin from Mexico

“Dye sublimation for textile applications is trending in Latin America. Many Latin American have been textile exporters for centuries,” said Catalina Frank, product manager for Epson Professional Imaging. Epson Latin America has participated in several fashion and textile-related events in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.

“Incorporating dye-sublimation into some of the processes of fashion creation can help designers and manufacturers reduce overall operating costs,” said Frank. Dye sublimation makes it easier to produce one-offs, small limited editions, or short runs for proofing and merchandising.

“In addition, a company can reduce inventory levels, turnaround times, and offer versatility for cut-and-sew sublimation printing or blank garment sublimation printing.”


Epson Pro Imaging

You Tube: Epson Ecuador Presents Fashion Show at Xpotex

You Tube: High-Performance Apparel Production with Epson SureColor F-Series Dye Sublimation

Fashionable Belts and Clutches Personalized with 3D Printed Hardware

DESIGNERS. Here’s a fresh example of how entrepreneurial creatives are incorporating 3D-printed designs into customized products.

Bow & Drape, the fashion brand that lets women add their personal touch to every piece, has partnered with the 3D printing marketplace Shapeways to launch a line of 3D printed, jewelry-grade metal accessories for Fall 2013.

The line includes leather belts and clutches with 3D printed hardware. The adjustable 100% leather or twill belt comes in 4 colors (black leather, tan leather, natural twill and black twill), and each customer can choose among different brass and metal buckle designs brought to life by Shapeways.

On the Bow & Drape website ( you can customize each Galaxy Belt with 3D printed hardware from Shapeways.
On the Bow & Drape website ( you can customize each Galaxy Belt with 3D printed hardware from Shapeways.

Each piece is also interchangeable so the belts function more like a collection. “They were inspired by a vintage 1970s belt from Paris,” says Creative Director and CEO, Aubrie Pagano. “We hope that our customers invest in our hardware over time. That way, women can interchange designs just as their mood changes.” 

Bow & Drape’s clutches don 3D printed zipper pulls in an assortment of animals and miscellaneous shapes. .

“The decision to incorporate 3D printing technology was a natural choice for us,” says Pagano, “we are standing at the forefront of fashion and technology, so this brand of me- commerce rings true to our ethos.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Bow & Drape on their new line of 3D printed accessories,” said Carine Carmy, Director of Marketing at Shapeways. “This partnership is a natural extension of our vision at Shapeways, which aims to enable anyone to turn an idea into reality. Shapeways and Bow & Drape share the goal of helping individuals create meaningful, personalized products, and we’re inspired to see how designers are using 3D printing to bring innovation and custom design to the fashion industry.”

Bow & Drape creates modern elegant womenswear and wants women to add their personal touch to each piece. “We believe style is as unique as a fingerprint,” says Pagano, “and so we want to equip women to really own their style and choose if they would like something a little extra special. It’s a reinvention of the private client model; everyone knows designers’ most loyal and successful customers are the ones that they work with privately to create totally personalized fashions. We are simply allowing more customers access to this service model.”

How It Works

Bow & Drape works closely with CAD designers, artisans and independent printers such as Shapeways to create designs that are a strong representation of the collection. Each design is meticulously constructed to be both aesthetically beautiful and structurally sound.

Through the Bow & Drape website, women can choose the design of their 3D printed hardware from a curated selection of vintage-inspired shapes including: geometric bows, elephants, lions, carousel horses, beetles, and even lipstick. New designs will be added each season.

Shapeways will then print each belt buckle or clutch pull to order, and Bow & Drape will attach the finished metal pieces to the customer’s selected material for delivery. The customer should receive her printed accessory within two weeks.

The Fall 2013 Collection is just the beginning. Bow & Drape is exploring new ways to allow  customers to place their marks on the design process. Other uses for 3D printing technology, the company believes, will open doors to new customer interaction models, new manufacturing processes and new product delivery channels.

Imagine in five years, being able to license a Bow & Drape design, modify it in CAD, and print it out in your home. “This is not a so distant reality,” Pagano says,” and we are excited to help usher in the future of fashion.”

The Fall 3D printed line is currently available and retails between $48 and $148.

About Bow & Drape

Launched in late 2012, Bow & Drape is an e-clothier and innovative womenswear brand bringing a custom-made approach to the hands of every female shopper. Recently named as one of Teen Vogue’s “10 Fashion Start Ups That Will Change the Way You Shop,” Bow & Drape merges high tech with high fashion. From hemlines to buttons to necklines to colors, Bow & Drape’s personalization technology encourages women to bring their personal touch to every detail of their wardrobe.

About Shapeways

Shapeways is one of the world’s leading 3D-printing marketplaces and online communities. The NY startup harnesses 3D printing to help anyone turn ideas into reality, making product design more accessible, personal, and inspiring.

Shapeways prints everything on-demand, which means that every order is customized and personalized.


Bow & Drape

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