Reality star and Fashion guru Tim Gunn revealed his opinion on the growth of technology in the fashion world, in a THL Talks segment with the High Low.
“What’s so interesting about the relationship of design to technology is when you think about how technology has grown and evolved, fashion doesn’t get rid of it. Think about weaving or sewing machines, for instance,” Gunn said. “The sewing machine was invented in the 19th century and it’s still relevant. It’s not like technology goes away; we just keep accumulating things.”
The former chair of fashion design at Parsons The New School For Design, he talked about being an architecture student in the 70s. Gunn said if a twelve-hour drawing started to bleed, you would have to start over.
“So in some ways, thank god for computers! That said, in fashion, technology enhances what the designer does, but doesn’t take away what’s already there. For me, the test of new technology’s greatness is our not being aware of it,” Gunn said. “When it’s in our faces, I’m not a fan. I want it to be so much a part of the overall DNA of an item of apparel or an accessory, that it seduces us subtly and then we realize it’s there, as opposed to it being a blunt instrument.”
For an example, he uses the Nike FuelBand, an activity tracker in the form of a bracelet.
“What I’m waiting for, and you can tell me if it’s already out there or not — I’m an ostrich — will be in the form of undergarments rather than apparel we see,” Gunn said. “I’m looking for something that is an excellent, foolproof sunscreen.”
The rest of technology fascinates Gunn; he dislikes Google Glasses, as “the presence of the camera as overwhelming” on his co-star Nina Garcia, and looks forward to more UV protective clothing.
“We think about putting sunscreen on our faces, but meanwhile, those rays penetrate our clothing,” Gunn said.
Gunn also sees 3D printing as important but still needs to work out its tweaks.
“I think it’s still in its infancy. But I’m rapt by it,” Gunn added. “I’m in the middle of home visits for season twelve of Project Runway, and one of the finalists is using 3D printing.”
And while technology expands, the famed fashion consultant knows the importance of the basics for the new generation.
“ When I meet young people who profess to be designers, I can tell from their 2D drawings whether they’ve ever actually made clothes or not. It’s so important to know how to build something. I was a Lego freak as a kid, so I understand that only too well,” he advised. “The actual making of clothes — we [designers]all still need to experience it. Do we have to do it forever? No. But we need to understand how things are put together. Also, I tell my students, I want you to know the rules, so you can break them. I say to my students, we must collect the information that’s out there and put it in the Rolodex, so to speak. I’m always saying fashion happens in a context. The designer should still experience the making of the garment.”