Look Backward, to move Forward: Historical Technology as a driving Force for a more sustainable Fashion Future

Startdatum1 januari 2022
Einddatum31 december 2023
RegelingHbo-postdoc 2018-2022
  • Kunst
  • High Tech Systemen en Materialen (HTSM)
  • Levend verleden
  • Kunst: onderzoek en innovatie in de 21e eeuw
  • Creatieve industrie
  • Sleuteltechnologieën en duurzame materialen
  • Kunst en de creatieve industrie
  • Ondernemen: verantwoord en vernieuwend

This proposal aims to explore a radically different path towards a more sustainable fashion future through technology. Most research on fashion and technology focuses on high tech innovation and, as a result, overlooks knowledge that is already available and has been used, tested and improved for centuries.
The proposed research project, however, looks backward to move forward. It aims to investigate ‘the blindingly obvious’ and asks the question how historical technologies could be used to solve contemporary environmental issues in fashion. It thus argues that technology from the past could inspire both designers and technologists to come up with new and exciting solutions to make the future of fashion more sustainable.
The current fast fashion system has changed the relationship consumers have with their clothing. Clothing has become a throwaway object and this has severe environmental implications. This research project aims to find a solution by exploring historical technologies - such as folding, mending and reassembling-, because in the past a ‘sustainable’ attitude towards fashion was the norm simply because cloth and garments were expensive. It wants to examine what happens when consumers, fashion designers and technologists are confronted with these techniques.
What would, for example, materialize when an aeronautical engineer takes the technique of folding as a starting point and aims to create clothes that can grow with babies and toddlers? The answer is the signature suit of the brand Petit Pli: a special folding technique allows their signature suit to grow with children from 3 months to 3 years. Much like the age-old folding techniques applied in traditional Dutch dress, which allowed the size women’s jackets to be altered, by simply adjusting the pleats.
Similarly, this project aims to investigate how high tech solutions, can be initiated through historical techniques.


Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Dymph van Outersterp, contactpersoon
Telefoon: 020 - 595 33 28