Creative and innovative design in fashion

An good example of innovative design in fashion must be the collection of Iris van herpen. In 2011, the 3-D dress that she designed was acclaimed by TIME Magazine as one of the fifty best inventions of the year.

Van Herpen exhibits her work at home and abroad, and last year she was the winner of the Dutch Fashion Awards and the RADO Young Designer Awards. In 2011 Van Herpen became a member of the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

Craftsmanship and new techniques
Iris van Herpen is renowned for her remarkable outfits in which she combines traditional craftsmanship and zealous handwork with innovative techniques such as rapid prototyping and radical material choices such as processed leather sorts, synthetic boat rigging and the whalebones of children’s umbrellas. With these she creates sculptural effects with an astonishing visual impact, which appear both organic and futuristic. Creating a new silhouette is important in her work. Van Herpen regards fashion as a form of self-expression in which she translates her associations and fascinations with everyday reality into a collection. Each collection has its own narrative, and wearability is not the ultimate criterion.

The materials she used as fabric are so different from normal fabrics, and it’s so creative! Even though the clothes she design is not that wearable, it is still an revolution of fashion fabric.

“For me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting.”

About creative & innovative

Sergio Silva has created this beautiful looking oil lamp called Oyule using a regular incandescent lightbulb. This is a great adaptive reuse for those old burned out light bulbs instead of just throwing them away. It turns a modern lighting source into an older one, elegantly. There is a “rare earth magnet” as one of the components which is used to keep the bulb upright on the base which has it’s own magnet too. These lamps are gorgeous but hella pricey at over 600 bones at 66degrees shop for a set of two.

—–Desile folding chair

This is what smart industrial design looks like. Attractive and functional. French artist, Christian Desile, created this award-winning folding chair from one single slice of board, so it takes up almost no space until you need a seat. But what’s even cooler – the chairs are made of a combination of bamboo & PET, making them truly sustainable.

—–Lace bone futuristic dress
Van Herpen works closley with architect Daniel Widrig to push the capabilities of digital technology to create 3D printed dresses, which have become her signature style. Van Herpen brings together excellent craftsmanship and new technologies to create sculptured garments, white plastic turned into a lace bone futuristic dress.

Interactive and Intelligent Design

This set of coffee tables by Ligne Roset were released a couple of years back and I think are beautiful, and an example of design that is interactive and intelligent.

I want to move them around and play with their transparency and the fact that they are inspired by Venn diagrams is fun and intelligent. Shame they are out of stock and out of my price range!

Sustainable Design

An issue that I have sometimes had with ‘eco’ and sustainable design is that it can emphasise the ‘eco’, over the ‘design’. Certain products have sacrificed aesthetics in favour of a political or environmental message. I think that this quote from Justin McGuirk sums up my opinion:

“…the real way to win the public over to sustainable design is not with a war of words but by tapping into their desires. We want things with sex appeal, not ones that look as though they are made of Weetabix.”

Here are some examples of great design made by a friend of mine Lucy Norman, that takes old materials and makes something beautiful and new.


I think that these items are a fantastic example of good sustainable design that embodies good values and intentions without sacrificing design aesthetic.




possible logo

Hi guys,

I have been working on something that could be a base logo to go with the different images of our own work that we provide.

I tried to incorporate tools that we would all use in our different approaches to design. I couldn’t think of one that would work for the ‘C’ though – and I just did an embellishment on the ‘M’ – I vaguely thought the three diamonds could represent the ‘process, product, positioning’?

Just thought that actually if simplicity is the theme I should try making it less busy – I think I like this better. As it shows the process behind a design and questions the idea of simplicity (or the work that might go into a simple aesthetic..

What do you guys think? Do you like the overall idea? any ideas about the C – might it look better without the diamonds?


Unethical Design

I hate design that is unethical. Visual codes and semiotics employed in branding can be incredibly useful tools for a designer – however it can be turned to highly immoral practice. For example British Petrolium’s $200 million re-branding effort to change their logo from this:

to this:

The lower case, sans serif type combined with the leafy sunflower motif  and bright light colours exude the message that this is a friendly, contemporary, progressive and most of all ecologically concerned company. A prime example of ‘Greenwashing’ if ever I saw one.

This effort turned out to do little to defend the companies reputation in the wake of the Gulf oil spill disaster.


Copy Jungle

Hello everyone :D

Now I gave a little thought about this copy matter…

I think that a designer always copies, in the sense that he/she finds an adecquate combination of already known and presented elements. The same way a phisicist sets up a new theory based upon already known concepts, a designer just needs to use his/her intelligence to make the right connections.

But how to defer copying from plagiarizing? I arrived to the conclusion that it is indeed a complicated issue; the factors to be considered in order to determine if a design has been plagiarized or not cannot be easily measured. It is also a conflictive issue for pertinent authorities.

I cherry-picked some logos for you.

In my opinion, some features that these logos have in common could have easily been thought by someone else, however not all of them…

You probably can recognize the ‘Toyota’ logo. In 2003 the company took legal action against a chinese car-making firm called Geely (logo next to Toyota’s). They asked the firm to stop using the logo but the japanese car makers lost the suit.

In 2007 Starbucks claimed that a Korean-based local coffee shop infringed on its trademark rights by using a similar brand name and logo. The Patent Court of Korea considered that trademarks and logos were not similar.

If the visible features cannot provide enough clues to decide the authenticity of a creative result, we will hardly find proof of the original intentions to plagiarize, or of an actual divine inspiration.

But there’s another thing into it; the question I that Iella posted: Does a copied design such as Lichtenstein comics still hold the ‘historically significant’ label? And I think… it does.

The world is a jungle. Every designer is responsible for the survival of their own designs; whether they are registered as trademark or not; whether they are exploited or put in a shelf. If somebody spends energy, time and resources to make other’s design famous, and goes away with it, such is life. ‘It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running’ (Dan Montano).

Wars are not fair, and they certainly have historical relevance. Has your design been stolen? Just fight back and make the most of it. Does the enemy have more resources and leaves you in a helpless little warrior position? Well… Bad luck. Thinking about the next creative project would be a good idea? x.x


Feel the Hate

I have made these AWFULLY designed tables for the ‘We Hate Design that makes life worse’ section of our presentation. (I was also wondering if it should be ‘makes things worse’ rather than ‘makes life worse’ – it’s less emphatic but more general, what do people think?)

I tried to encapsulate a range of things that we (and I expect everyone in their right mind) would find visually and functionally horrid.

The tables are unclear and overly complicated to the point of illegibility, deeply unoriginal (word art, clip art, stock images etc) they don’t line up, are totally innapproporiate and are just plain ugly. It was actually quite satisfying to make something deliberately this bad…

Occam’s Razor

I was thinking about earlier today when Echo refined our ideas down into one simple and excellent point that summed up what we like in design. It made me think of the Logic and Scientific principle of Occam’s Razor. This is the idea that:

“Other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one.”

Considering our discussions’ emphasis on the importance of simplicity and clarity in design, this principle also demonstrates what Ian Noble was talking about during this afternoons lecture:

“Theory exists to explain what we know already.”

A few weeks ago I created an illustration for this idea which played on the dual meaning of ‘razor’ whilst demonstrating something of the theories’ central point:

Inspiration or Plagiarism?

‘Good designers copy, great Designers steal.’ – Pablo Picasso

Why did Picasso, known by the world for his unique and original pieces, say something as incongruous as that?

Cameron Moll interprets this in his THREE LEVELS OF DESIGN:

Level 1: Copy, don’t Create

He says that designers should start out by copying other well created designs. He goes on to quote Gerry McGovern, web copywriting guru:

‘Take it from the pros: For most kinds of writing, originality and inspiration are overrated.’

Moll says, in a commercial art environment, due to time constraints and budget limitations, copying is almost mandatory! According to him, the positive side of copying: conventionality.

But is that what designers aim for? Convention? Isn’t thinking outside the box our main job?

Level 2: Steal from yourself

Rummage through your hard drive and other files for your old designs, unfinished designs, and those which were successfully accepted by the client You can still use some of them, reinvent it, remake it and you’ll be able to come up with a much better output.

This, I don’t completely disagree with. In my opinion, its fine to revisit your own designs that have worked before, we can’t always create new material!

Level 3: Steal from Discrete Sources

Albert Einstein said ‘The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.’

Apparently, great artists must rummage through heaps of junk to find lost, bypassed and forgotten ideas. And they don’t get caught stealing, because the ‘inspiration’ came from hidden sources. Level 3 entails the ‘difficult’ process of searching through magazines, books, websites, historical artifacts, cultural compositions and other rich design sources to locate those unused and forgotten ideas.

Moll says ‘To put it simply, one is inspired when he tries to be the “great artist”-stealing designs and transforming it into something that they could call their own. One is plagiarizing when he is closely imitating another’s idea and calls it his own.’

“Copying one idea is plagiarism but copying a lot of ideas is research.” says a comic strip. If we refer to Picasso’s quote once again, stealing from discrete sources make this statement true.

So what do you think? Where do we draw the line? Is it acceptable to copy as long as others don’t find out? Or do you think its despicable that the author used quotes from great men, quotes that were quite obviously meant to be ironic, to suit his own purposes?


Spontaneous City in Tree Heaven

I saw this a couple of weeks ago when I was on my way to the Contemporary Illustration Fair in Islington and thought it was a good example of our ‘design loves’ because it has all of the things we discussed today:

It is :

Innovative and creative.

Aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Sustainable and Classic.

Unique and has / adds Personality.

Interactive and Intelligent.

Design makes me rethink.

I like design that
-From attraction to detail
-Design that reinvents
-Environmentally friendly
-rethink of the parameters that have determined.
-Design that makes me think and progress.

I hate design that is
-Ugly things
-Unoriginality – poor imitations, copies difference between inspiration and copying

I love product which is original, is an attention to detail and make people think and progress.
Here is the example that I think it is a good design- Maison Martin Margiela (MMM) label.

As people see someone’s back, you may have a question” What is that?”, as u open the inner, you will discover that it is a label, and MMM change the way it should be which most of the labels are hide in the cloth rather than show up.

This is his one of his collection Maison Martin Margiela Wood Grain Messenger Bag.

And the funny thing is the label made of white cotton but printed with figures ranging from 0 to 23. For each label, a number enclosed in a circle indicates the fashion line to which each item of clothing, shoes, accessory, book or object belongs. I think the way he use numbers to classify is innovative, As I first time saw this, it made me want to touch and try to find out how it work and how he fix detail, and how clever he re-define the thing that have determined, and change the traditional technique.

Conversely I have to admitted that I hat this Olympic Mascots, which is ugly, blandness and bad taste. Not only the colour is weird, also the horrible shape. I think the designer try to make it attractive but fail, and lead to disaster.

‘I like design’ —Products

I like design that good design makes our life better. I think it is one of the most important thing about design. Some products are full of function but the may look like unattractive. So good design is the product that can attract people’s attention, and make people want to gain it. That means good design is not just a product that you buy just for the function, sometimes good desgin is an artwork that can decorate your life and make it better.
I like design that good design will make our life full of fun.
‘horsey’ by eungi kim

‘horsey’ by eungi kim from korea is one of the shortlisted design entries from more than 3000 participants 
in our recent designboom competition, ‘seoul cycle design competition 2010′, organized in collaboration
with seoul design foundation.
designer’s own words:
’horsey’ is an attachable bicycle ornament/accessory which makes one’s bicycle look horsey! 
the ‘horsey’ package includes wooden ornaments (horsey shape body), metal parts, and screws.
the manual is very simple so that anyone can easily arrange it according to one’s needs. 
through this ‘horsey’ project. I wanted to give a special look to bicycles so that people would care 
about cycling not only as transportation but also as a lovely pet.
I like design that some of the design work will make our life full of love.
Die Katze, a cat shaped school by Tomi Ungerer

Ring with hidden love messages, made in France 1830-60

When i see this small ring it always make me smile about the love messages in it.

I like design that good design will make people think. It stretches people’s imagination.
A close-up of a tinkling, bell-covered dress from Viktor & Rolf’s couture show in 2000.

Some of the design maybe not full of function but when you see it you want to touch it and you want to know how to make it. Like this bell-covered dress from Viktor & Rolf, it made from different metrial even it’s not fabric, but when i saw it i felt that i can hear the sound of bells that who walk with wearing it. It extend my mind and my feeling from seeing to hearing.

A Love and a Hate about Design Products

When It comes to products, I think that harmonious form and function are important.

I love products that have an attention to detail, are innovative, make me feel excited by them and most of all fulfil their purpose.

An example of this is the Kartell Bourgie Lamp:

I love how this lamp fuses an old and contemporary aesthetic through the use of materials (very post-modern). I find it exciting and beautiful and it works extremely well  – it lights up the whole room on full power and can be dimmed if you want a different atmosphere. There is also fantastic attention to detail on the switch:

When the light is off the switch is illuminated. Not only does this make it look great – it also serves a very valid function – this way you can find the switch in the dark. In the usability of the switch there is also something  that is engaging and fun – as you turn it the light on the switch dims as the light gets brighter, as though the light is going from the switch to the bulbs.


Conversely I hate it when things are made which sacrifice either form or function. The  example which I gave on Thursday was Crocs:

I don’t care how ‘comfortable’ they are. They are repugnant. Anyone who wears them outside of the house over the age of 10 looks like they have given up on life. Quite simply I hate them. Maybe this a bit harsh. I think the point I’m trying to make is that things can be beautiful and functional and I think that is important.

A Love and a Hate about the Design Process

I love how the creative process of design can take over your mind and when it is flowing you can just ride it for as long as you can stay awake. It is completely immersive and very therapeutic in my opinion. It takes you out of your head – any other thoughts dissipate and your mind can be totally absorbed in making something. You could affiliate this with Art Therapy however whilst the effect is similar I think that there can be a distinctively different satisfying effect for the designer as the outcome is (often) functional.

(A recent personal example would be when I spent about 18 hours straight working with triangles.)

Something I hate in the design process is when time constraints make you sloppy or make mistakes and it being too late to fix them. Having something that you have created exist and be on display when you know it is wrong is deeply frustrating.

An example of this for me is a T-shirt that I designed which went into production. We were trying to rush the printing process in order to fulfil shop orders. I had been working on it as a very large file and thought it looked great but I hadn’t zoomed in and made sure that everything was perfect.

The end result was that on 50 T-shirts there were a number of lines that didn’t line or join up properly (this being the antithesis of my love of things that line up.)

Even though these were relatively small errors and the overall image wasn’t ‘ruined’ this annoyed me enormously and it was all I could see when I looked at the Tshirts. I aspire to have an attention to detail and the lack of it here made me furious.

Ironically this became our best selling design, however when we went to reprint I fixed the errors and all was right in the world again! On the plus side this experience did make me learn to ALWAYS zoom in and check the detail before its too late.

Reply to various regarding graffiti

Hi all,

I was in Bristol this weekend (and without Internet hence I am only just doing my entry!). Bristol has graffiti central to its identity as a city. It is the home of the infamous Banksy and in certain parts of town you cannot avoid seeing graffiti in your eye line. I personally think it is great and there is definitely a lot of support for it within certain communities obviously there will be some people who disapprove. Obviously I agree with the points around vandalism and there graf isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. Maybe the fact that there is so much good graffiti in Bristol means that people try harder to produce better graffiti – I think that bad graffiti is awful and unlike bad Art – you can’t really choose not to look at graffiti as it is public. But fortunately there isn’t too much of it in Bristol and any that gets painted will quickly get sprayed over. There are a lot of areas where it is allowed as well as some unspoken acceptence – boards up around building sites for example will be considered fair game. There is also a tendency for businesses to hire graffiti artists to decorate their shops fronts etc.

Any way I saw this image and thought it was very provocative – especially considering the building it was opposite. I think this sums up something that graffiti can do really well in terms of making a very public (and political) statement.

Graffiti: On Iella’s Post

I would just leave a reply, but I think this topic is interesting enough to warrant a new post.

There are several grey areas when it comes to graffiti. Random graffiti is destruction of property, vandalism, and costs the country millions each year to repair. That said, I believe in this form of artistic expression. If only each city could designate more public spaces for graffiti artists. It is a valid art form, in my opinion, if done in an appropriate area, and it should be legal seeing as it’s a form of expression, and we do all have the basic human right: Freedom of expression.

But it isn’t ‘expression’, when people have to repeatedly pour money into de-vandalizing their businesses. And that is the problem with graffiti: it’s ‘unauthorized’, as the dictionary says, and it destroys someone’s property. And it may cost the property owner a lot of money for making repairs.

So, while I appreciate the ‘rogue artistic value’, it is immoral to defile others’ property.

But then again, art is controversial. Anything that is so subjective to personal tastes and values, will be, as Timberlake Wertenbaker says, inherently debatable.