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Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

The Secret Behind The Invention of Spanx

Posted by Plish on February 9, 2017

When most people think about Spanx and how they were invented, people often mention Inventor Sara Blakely cutting the feet off of her pantyhose to create the first prototype.

But the secret wasn’t in the prototype per se

It was in the metaphor that drove her to cut the feet of those hose.

—“Shapewear is the canvas and the clothes are the art.” –Sara Blakely

While the metaphor may not have been explicitly articulated at the time, it was clearly already active in her mind.

Like an unsmoothed piece of gessoed canvas on which no amount of paint could hide the imperfections, the clothes women wore showed what was beneath.  Blakely didn’t like the fact that underwear, and how it assaulted a woman’s body, was able to be seen through clothes.  Every ripple, every bulge, insidiously showed itself.   The masterpiece of beauty was betrayed by faulty ‘canvas.’

That first prototype solved the problem: The shapewear became a flawless canvas enabling a work of art to be ‘painted’ upon it.  The masterpiece could shine through un-detracted by the canvas beneath.  A new problem revealed itself: The legs of the cut hose kept rolling up.   But that didn’t detract from the fact that a solution had been found.  From that point on, the process of refining the product was geared towards comfort, manufacturability and scalability.

The Metaphor Stayed Active

As a guest on James Altucher’s Podcast recently, Blakely proclaimed: “Everything is a Canvas!” (A perspective that also drove her creation of The Belly Art Project.)    This metaphor has continued to drive the development of Spanx product lines.  It’s powerful because it acknowledges the potential works of art that are enabled through their products.  Spanx make people feel good about being walking art.

Feel The Metaphor

When solving problems, tune in to the emotions you’re feeling.  You may not be able to articulate what you’re feeling, but acknowledge it nonetheless.  If you can articulate them, great! Regardless, start acting on them.  Humans make sense of the world through metaphor.  Start acting on those feelings and see if a metaphor is revealed and if it is resolved.  Some kinks might still need to be worked out, but you’ll recognize the solution when it’s present.

“Good Design is Obvious.  Great Design is Transparent.” – Joe Soprano

Spanx are transparent, just as a smooth canvas should be.   The greatness is apparent to women and men worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Design, Fashion, innovation, invention, problem solving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Innovation, Design and the “Crafting the Future” Conference

Posted by Plish on April 9, 2013

If you’re interested in some great perspectives on design, innovation, craft, social change and the interplay of all these and more, check out the webpage from the Crafting the Future conference, running April 17th thru 19th in Gothenburg.  In particular, head over to the Papers section.  There you will find a plethora of research on the following topics:

1. Designing Future Mobility
2. Design Development of Future Homes for Future Cities
3. Design and Innovation
4. MAKING TOGETHER – Open, Connected, Collaborative
5. The craft of design in design of service
6. Fashion Design for Sustainability
7. Design history as a tool for better design
8. Power to the People: Practices of Empowerment through Craft
9. Design & Craft (Crafting the Education of Design)
10. Open Track

I’m amazed by the volume of wonderful work.  Pick your research track and dive in!

Oh, if anyone reading this is going to the conference, I would love to hear your thoughts!!

 

Posted in Co-Creation, culture of innovation, Design, Fashion, innovation, problem solving, Service Design, Social Innovation, Sustainability, The Future | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughts on Innovation and Design from Ukrainian Fashion Designer, Olga De NoGGa

Posted by Plish on April 6, 2013

DeNoGGa

 

 

 

On March 1st, Fashion Designer Olga De Nogga was in Chicago showcasing her designs at a fashion show sponsored and supported by ‘Ukrainian Women in Business’ as well as other Chicago community organizations.

I was fascinated by some of her work and wanted to get her thoughts on innovation and design.  Unfortunately, due to conflict,  I was not able to get to the show.  However, I was able to get a few questions to her and she was kind enough to take time out of her crazy travel schedule to answer them.  What follows is the interview and her thoughts.

Special thanks to Sofia Mikolyash and Iaroslava Babenchuk for  your indispensable contributions to the publication of this interview!

****Interview with Designer Olga De Nogga  –  March 2013****

What is your definition of innovation?

Overall, for me innovation is what impresses a human eye – something new and original – a new construction in clothing, some particular color solution. Innovation is a cornerstone of my creative method – starting from concept development for a collection, and finishing with its visualization in models.

 It seems that most of your materials are more traditional. What are your thoughts on new materials and newer manufacturing processes such as 3 dimensional printing? Any plans to use those in your future designs?

Intense, bright and open ways of expressing our reality has been always important for our nation as it is part of our self-identity, said Oleksandra Exter, a famous Ukrainian artist and experimenter. In my work you can see that. I always try to pay attention to new technologies, as it is important for a designer.  It allows me to see new horizons and widens the potential for new discoveries .But I also pay attention to the integrity of my personal style of designing so that it doesn’t get deformed by innovation and instead acquires plasticity and develops – it is important for a designer not to stop developing. Considering recent trends in innovation it is important for me nevertheless to stick to 100% natural fabrics.

What is it from the Ukrainian Culture that sings in your designs? In other words, what from the Ukrainian Cultural heritage are you trying to share and elevate through your design?

I can say for sure that it’s embroidery, colors – Ukrainian embroidery is generously colorful and particular. You can see that in my former collections and in the current one. The smoking jacket collection for women ‡ was dominated by bright colors that are not typical in smoking jackets. The construction of the jackets was also inspired by the traditional cut.

People are bringing a fashion sense to things that usually are not considered primarily fashionable – eye glasses, wheelchairs, canes, artificial legs and arms. What are your thoughts on this and in the bigger picture, what role does fashion design contribute to the growth of individuals and the growth of humanity?

I agree that contemporary fashion is changing very dynamically – each season – which is why many designers plug into their collections sometimes unnecessary or accidental pieces. At times they care more about the shock effect rather than the aesthetic value of such plug-ins. They are trying to attract attention to themselves that way. However, such designers very often lose the conceptual dimension of their work, and undervalue their search for new images and shapes. It is important to mention that contemporary fashion not only brings in new visual tendencies but also can address certain social aspects. Last year the Ukraine Fashion week was framed by a theme of Ecology, in particular focusing on water and ways to preserve water supply on the planet. Fashion weeks now highlight that it is fashionable to be healthy and that addresses certain social issues.

‡The word to describe the “Smoking Jacket” Collection is also the word used for tuxedos.

****End****

I am fascinated by  her thoughts about innovation getting in the way of natural development, which is very often what many companies want to happen.  Would love to flesh that out further with her some day over a cocktail.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Arts, creativity, Design, Fashion, innovation, Interviews, Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Designing the Future? Check out these 5 Websites for Innovative and Inspiring Materials

Posted by Plish on March 20, 2013

soft, hard

glowing, shiny

smooth, rough

warm, cool

sharp, dull

touch, see, taste, hear(?!)

 

Reflect for a moment on where you are now:

Probably sitting somewhere….Wearing something (if not, I hope you are not in public)…Your feet are resting upon something…You’re looking at a screen, touching it perhaps..you are smelling and feeling the hot cup of coffee in your hand…the rings on your fingers…

Your experience of now is mediated through materials of all types, shapes and sizes.  The clothes, upholstery, floor, cup, tablet screen, coffee cup, the coffee, even the air, your skin…all materials…

Materials are so foundational to our experience of life that we often just take them for granted.

But, these are exciting times.

New materials are being created daily, materials that respond to temperature, to vibration, to light…materials that change shape in magnetic/electric fields, materials that don’t pollute the environment…

What we can make in the world is limited more so by materials than by our dreams…

Here are some really cool websites, some free, some not free, but all display a dizzying array of materials of all types.

OpenMaterials.org This site is all about ways to DIY amazing materials.  It’s about sharing material experiences.  Check this out.

Materials for Designers – Great site from the Materials Information Society.  Great database.

Transmaterial – Materials that redefine our physical environment.  Amazing stuff here.

Material ConneXion – This is a great site.  It is also a subscription based site. However, these folks offer more than just materials, they can be innovation partners. And, if you live in the areas where they have their display rooms you can actually see and touch the materials in their database. It’s worth a subscription to these folks.

Materia – Similar to Material ConneXion but this database is free.  There tagline is “Materialize the Future.”  Their website is a great place to start.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have any other sites, please share them.

Henry David Thoreau said, “The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”

Please don’t settle and let your dreams become woodsheds.  Learn about, and experience new materials.

~The more we know materials, the more we can make dreams reality~

 

 

 

 

Posted in Architectural Design, culture of innovation, Design, Experience, Fashion, innovation, Nanotechnology, Open Source, Sustainability, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Your St. Patrick’s Day Innovation Lesson: Less is More

Posted by Plish on March 15, 2013

On a day when many people celebrate St. Patrick’s day with revelry and excess, I was pleasantly surprised by this patch-o-less from the sleeve of  the Chicago Wolves hockey team’s, St. Patrick’s jerseys.

Chicago Wolves Patch with Negative Space

Upon first glance, and especially at a little bit of a distance, all one sees is a four leaf  clover.

Upon closer examination it reveals more.  The void at the center of the leaves (the technical term is “negative space”)  is actually a star that is a symbol for the City of Chicago.

The lesson is simple:

Before you add another feature to your product, ask yourself what you can take away to create more value and craft a more powerful message.

 

Happy Innovating and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted in Design, Fashion, innovation, Sports Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Press Release Ralph Lauren and the US Olympic Team Should Have Released

Posted by Plish on July 13, 2012

Ralph Lauren is proud to announce the release of its 2o12 Elite Olympic Collection.  Designed and manufactured in the United States, this limited edition line reflects the best the United States has to offer.  Made from state of the art, ‘smart’ materials, these clothes keep athletes warm in cold environs, and cool and dry when the competition gets hot.  The snappy red, white and blue uniforms are entirely manufactured  in the United States.  “The athletes that represent the United States are the best of the best,” said Ralph Lauren, “It’s only fitting that our Elite Collection represent the best that the U.S. garment industry has to offer.” 

 

Note: At publication of this piece, Ralph Lauren announced that future Olympic garb will be manufactured in the United States.

Posted in Design, Fashion, Social Responsibility, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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