Saturday, December 02, 2006
S-Patterns & SELF (Self-Employed Laboratory for Fashion)
fashion, & S
In my grant research work for NSF, an objective was to test the Stylometrics Primitive Patterns as standard templates for the whole American apparel industry. The graphic is an example of that testing. The dotted lines show the side view and 2D pattern pieces of the Stylometrics Pants Primitive compared with an Ann Klein pair of pants in solid lines - the same size, but Ann Klein’s was shaped for a model’s “stance”, while our Primitive was shaped for the average woman. The objective was that it would not matter if every manufacturer wanted a different shape, because the computer software I was designing could calculate the differences and match the appropriate one to “consumer profiles” to be established. The graphic was copied from the workshop paper for MIT that you can see at my web site. http://www.shirleywillett.com
There’s been many requests from around the world for me to help in quality pattern making and to answer problems that both my Stylometrics Pattern system and SELF is being designed to answer. Because I want this innovative system to be an excellent one and to be a legacy of my nearly 60 years of experience, expertise and knowledge of the fashion clothing industry, it must be carefully researched and developed. That’s why I call it a research LABORATORY. Please be patient – it takes time to be excellent. But it also takes knowing your needs and problems – so please keep letting me know more about your work.
Some history is necessary to understand the changes in direction for the use of the Stylometrics system over the past 20 years, and why it is taking time to develop it for you. That is, the original series of research grants that I won from the National Science Foundation, starting in 1989, were for helping the American apparel industry and their CAD/CAM vendors, completely different goals than for young designers and consumers. The graphic of the pants comparison is just one of many tests done for applying the system to the industry and trying to promote the tremendous need for standards. Unfortunately, I learned when working with NIST (National Institute for Standards & Technology) and Natick Army Labs, that Sears & Roebuck and the Dept. of Defense had spent 20 years pushing American apparel manufacturers to accept standards in just sizing. Each one said, ”Sure, but use mine. I’m not changing my sizes to anyone else’s” Even my innovation of having the computer calculate the differences, did not deter them. Perhaps it’s their egos, thinking they are the top dog, that has killed so many of them here in America – much more than prices and offshore contracting. Please do not let this happen to you, young designers!
I worked for years on objectives for the industry, with most of it previously not of value for the young designer, except for the Primitive Patterns themselves. After I did the workshop for MIT in January 2004, I made the decision to try again to do something again with this system, and started teaching “Fashion/Pattern Design for Beginners”, a 7 session course. I planned it differently than any school had ever taught it, by developing spatial relations in the students ‘ minds – learning “to see” - inner visualizations to manipulate pattern shapes. It’s much more creative and a lot more fun, but those few who are steeped in rules and want things all laid out for them don’t “get it”. You must learn to create solutions. The class and some individuals I mentored (like Tess) were a great test to show that this is the best way for creative young designers to learn pattern making and it also results in quality patterns that can be reproduced efficiently and cost effectively.
Our next step is to test it online. There are a couple of people that are going to test the first 3 important sessions of that online. Tess is one designer that has tested my systems for her use in China. Now I am working with Susan, a technical designer, that will work with using some of the Generic Patterns for a spring/summer collection, as well as helping me develop the Generic Patterns from the Primitive Patterns. There are a few others that are going to do certain things that will assist in researching and testing our system for you. I will tell you more about Generics in the next post. Please keep emailing me about your needs and desires.