Innovation the Long Way Round: Transferring Rapid Prototyping Technology into Fashion Design
Engineering processes often leave little space for exploration of new materials or production methods. In particular complex engineering processes are risk averse and goal focused. Innovation does occur mainly when it is driven by a need that can not be met satisfactorily by an existing technology and approach. Artistic design domains and in particular fashion design, have a very different attitude towards innovations. Designers are constantly on the look out for new ideas or new techniques. They embrace innovations from a variety of different fields and explore how these can be applied in their own work. While they might not develop new technologies, they explore the scope and potential of existing methods in a very playful and supportive way. This paper reflects about innovation in engineering and fashion design and reports on two case of rapid prototyping projects in fashion textile, where laser sintering is pushed to its limits, to illustrate these very different cultures of innovation.