Paris may rule for big-name luxury houses, but for Europe’s most avant-garde fashion innovators, look a few hundred miles north-east – to Amsterdam. Among some 1,300 designers based in the city – plus more flooding in this month for International Fashion Week Amsterdam (12–15 March) – a slew of science-meets-style collaborations is helping push the boundaries of smart fashion.
Take, for instance, Maartje Dijkstra and social design lab Studio Roosegaarde developing an e-foil dress that changes transparency depending on the presence of others; or 3D-printed fashion visionary Iris van Herpen partnering with the MIT Media Lab and Keever, a former NASA engineer, on her futuristic couture collections – their high-minded themes ranging from the sound-wave patterns of birds in flight to DNA engineering meets classical mythology (pictured).
Realised by laser cutting, 3D-printing allows her to create shapes impossible to achieve using conventional production methods. “For some people, it’s unimaginable that fashion and science can even connect, but in my mind they can,” says van Herpen. “An architect is not always an architect anymore, and a designer is not always thinking about furniture.”