From the pixelated dress of Lagerfeld to high-tech heels, interview with Paolo Dario, professor of the Biorobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa.
What does fashion have to do with biorobotics? This is explained by Paolo Dario, professor of the Biorobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa who has been collaborating with the Istituto Modartech for years to show to the sudents that the contamination between design and new technologies not only is possible but is also desirable.
1. Fashion and biorobotics, what are the possible “contaminations”?
Contaminations exist and are possible. On the other hand, robotics can be an application field transversal to any sector.
Think of the new materials or the Italian leadership in textile machinery or the endless applications of technology: wearable robotic clothes, customized prostheses, sensorized garments and any other element originating from creativity, training and competence, an innovative spirit. Elements that have always characterized the Italian style.
Fashion today can draw enormous cues from this world to try to project itself into a future that is not science fiction. The robots, which have become a normal household appliance, also dictate aesthetic standards.
We can imagine a future populated by robots that help us in everyday life and that are dressed like us, or we looking a bit robotic like them, thanks to the clothes we will wear.
2. Can you give us some examples of biorobotics combined with fashion?
3D printers, laser cuts and new technologies are increasingly used to make clothes, even high fashion ones. For designers who are willing to collaborate with technology experts, digital production techniques are an opportunity to develop new aesthetic and functional forms.
The famous case of the Karl Lagerfeld wedding dress in neoprene with a train with a very elaborate embroidery, which was drawn by hand, scanned on the computer and then “pixelated”. Seen from afar the fantasy of the dress, formed by artificial diamonds and pearls, looks like a simple baroque style; looking at it closely, digital work stands out instead.
3. How much technology can help in design tomorrow’s fashion?
Technology and art can be parts of the same coin: technology is increasingly part of fashion and art. In 1917 Depero sketched possible electric costumes, in 1956 Atsuko Tanaka, a member of the Gutai group, exhibited his first electric suit, while in 1984 Jana Sterbak showed off her electric suit La Robe.
For example we have done research in the field of fashion, for luxury footwear, optimizing the antistatic, inserting pedometers, designing innovative insoles for optimizing comfort, studying new materials and ways of recovering energy from the walkway or in the case of ” high-tech heels “, capable of absorbing vibrations and guaranteeing comfort to the wearer, so as to combine excellent research with excellent workmanship.
4. How important are partnerships with apparently distant realities like the one started with Modartech for the bio-robotics institute?
They are very much so. Cross fertilization allows for the emergence of radical innovation ideas with applications in all fields of everyday life and gives creativity cues that underlie both the art world and innovation, with the difference perhaps that the first satisfies – in the sense of aesthetic and perceptive satisfaction – and the second satisfies – in the sense of realizing a utility that responds to a need, but both can start from common dynamics.
5. How important is, in your opinion, the study of new technologies for those who want to approach the profession of fashion designer?
Robotics – in particular biorobotics – can interact positively on the economy and on all sectors that characterize the “made in Italy” by stimulating a competitive “advantage” starting from the assumption that it is the sector that, better than any other other, has the power to revive an established tradition of Italy, not only in advanced mechanics but also in manufacturing. The Italy of know-how is food and fashion, it is not just technology, but technology can go well with both.