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Fashion and Technology

Innovations in clothing from zippers to the Internet on display at FIT

by Joan Erakit in Culture on 04 December 2012

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Clothing defined by its connection to technology is the focus of "Fashion and Technology," a special exhibit at the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) in NYC. An arrangement of over 100 objects from the museum's generous permanent collection of dresses, accessories and textiles, curated by Ariele Elia and Emma McClendon, explores the historical advancements and ground-breaking experiments in the industry over the past 250 years.

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Looking at innovations within what Elia calls "the four main sides of fashion: materials, production methods, aesthetic and function," the exhibition is organized chronologically. From a purple and black taffeta dress using synthetic aniline dye made in 1860, to a silver metallic lame evening dress by Thierry Mugler that utilized reflective material in 1979 and a Jean Paul Gaultier jumpsuit with an Op-Art print inspired by the advent of the Internet from 1996, the pieces reveal the historical context of exciting technological inventions as they were applied to apparel, and the evolution of fashion trends in the wake of such developments.

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Changing modes of fashion are exposed in relation to innovations like the introduction of the sewing machine and the invention of the zipper and synthetic materials. By shedding new light on such familiar, everyday conventions the exhibit exposes technology's influence on fashion and its continuing role in its evolution, as well as the similar, rapidly changing nature of both fields as an impetus for their connection.

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"Fashion and Technology" opened today, 4 December 2012, and runs through 8 May 2013. For more information visit the website.

Images courtesy of MFIT

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