We live in a fast paced society. This applies to the technology and fashion industries alike. Technology is developing very rapidly: new gadgets and systems are emerging every day and the ones that have been on the market for a while are becoming more affordable, hence reaching more and more consumers. The fashion industry is trying to catch up with the pace set by technology so there are many fashion designers who are using new technology like 3D printing, laser cutting and smart technologies for their artistic creations, however not as many designers as you would think. Fashiontech is hence a section of the fashion industry that still needs a boost. This is why the work of young cutting-edge designers like Clara Daguin, who are bringing new and fresh ideas into fashion are so valuable and so worthy of receiving more attention and support.
Clara Daguin was one of the 10 competing fashion designers at the Festival d’Hyères that took place at the end of April 2016 in Hyères in the South of France. The fashion jury included many prominent names such as Julien Dossena, the creative director of Paco Rabanne, who was the head of the jury this time and a former participant in the festival in the past, Nicole Phelps, director of Vogue Runway, fashion designer Pierre Hardy, Tomoko Ogura, the fashion director of Barneys New York and others. The jury didn’t show much interest in fashiontech. As a result, Clara Daguin and her fashiontech approach wasn’t among the finalists, and the special prize of the jury was awarded to Hanne Jurmu and Anton Vartiainen who showed a rather handcrafted collection clearly inspired by the 70s, one of the biggest trends of the past year, as well as the hippie movement and vagabonds of eras past.
I had a chance to ask Clara Daguin a few questions about her innovative collection, which was inspired by Silicon Valley in the United States where Clara lived for a while, and about the way people use technology nowadays. We can love it or hate it, but we can’t neglect the fact that we all depend on technology. Clara knows this very well herself: she is diabetic and has an insulin pump. When she got the pump she began thinking a lot more about technology and extensions of the body, Clara asserts.
Her womenswear collection entitled “BODY ELECTRIC” plays with the idea of technologically enhanced bodies featuring garments with led circuits inserted into them – technology that the designer developed herself, by the way – and ear accessories with built-in heart rate monitors.
The shoes are high-tech as well, using built-in gyroscopic sensors that are able to detect the movement of the foot and the position of the body while walking and contain a potentiometer system that lies inside the zipper and makes the light shining inside the soles fluctuate: the soles light up when you zip the shoes on and dim out when you zip the shoes off. When asked about future trends in fashion and technology and if those are something positive or negative, Clara says that she sees the development of technology as an ambiguous process that is hard to predict in advance: you can only see if a certain technology has a positive or negative impact on society when the technology is already there and is being used by many consumers. Technologies like 3D printing for instance, can have positive as well as negative effects: on one side 3D printing can enable people make objects and even garments by themselves comfortably in their homes, but on the other side it can lead to overproduction and overconsumption. In the end, it’s up to consumers how they deal with technology and its positive or negative side effects.
Text: Veronika Dorosheva
Images: Courtesy of Hyères Festival, Veronika Dorosheva, Alice Brygo.