Predicting the future of fashion is a tricky business. Who knows what kind of threads the children of the mid-21st century will be wearing? Augmented reality tattoos? 3D printed wigs? Or perhaps rendered headgear that makes the wearer look like they’ve quantum leapt from a parallel universe?
The latter is exactly what fashion designer Dharma Taylor has created in her hybrid designs (above and below) for her SS12/AW12 handmade headpiece collection, which are heavily influenced by digital culture. Her jarring designs look like tribal masks from a geometric, color-saturated future, but her influences are the ideas of parallel shamanic lands and the concept of hyperreality, where reality and the simulation of reality are indistinguishable.
“I took time to study these theories,” Taylor told me in an email, “and found that the concept of what is real and what is simulation is closely linked with the dream world; something which I try to integrate into the construction and ambience of my pieces.”
The headpieces are created using 3D software—a low polygon head shape is designed in 3ds Max, textures added in ZBrush, and then this wireframe design is put into a program that can read the facets as separate pattern pieces, she can then apply the patterns to whatever material she’s using. In these designs, it’s a printable lightweight plastic, printed using a screen printing technique in the hues of the RGB (Red, Green, Black) colour model. But Taylor says she wants to move on to using light metals, printing on and building with them, to create another iteration of these digital war bonnets.
Without a doubt, the designs are eye-catching. If you walked down the street wearing one, you’d look like you’ve just stepped out of a net artist’s Tumblr blog. But the idea was to look at the merging “between attire and digital culture, thus embracing the shifting paradigms.” When I asked Taylor, why design like this? She replied, “I think the reason I choose to design this way is because I want the process to be filtered and I wanted to blend different platforms and mediums together to try to create something new. The aim of this project was to create a rendered extension of the self or the wearer.” So by creating these designs she’s taking imaginary worlds and making them manifest, rendering her own hyperreality into existence.