Science, Technology, and Fashion have always been intertwined with each other, now with more advances in technology, it´s possible to imagine all the possibilities one can achieve. Companies like Future Tech Lab are doing so by merging the worlds of fashion, technology, sustainability and academia.
I first learned about graphene about a year ago when I watched a video about its full potential.
Isolated by Prof Sir Andre Geim, graphene is a form of carbon atoms that originate from the mineral graphite. The properties for graphene include a strength of 200x stronger than steel, a super conductor, flexibility and transparency.
Photonic crystals are natural crystals that are found in plants, animals and insects (such as butterfly wings and beetle shells) when light hits the crystals at various angles it creates their color. Photonic crystals can be synthetically created as artificial opals. P.C and artificial opals both produce structural color which is a non-pigmented form of color.
A photonic crystal is a periodic structure in an optical medium, which structure creates unusual optical dispersion properties. Such a structure can be periodic in a single dimension, two dimensions or three dimensions. The periodic nature of the structure causes the dispersion relation (relationship of frequency to wavelength) to be periodic and to have a band structure.
I’ve contacted an MA graduate who has worked with these materials, Lindsay Hanson. Her project proposes how advances in graphene and photonic crystal technology could lead to the creation of completely new color changing yarns and textiles that could decrease our dependency on synthetic produced dyes and help reduce the sheer volume of garments that each of us owns. While doing her project she worked with Prof Sir Kostya Novoselov and his post- doc.
L.H: I first saw a consumer gap in the wearable tech industry. Where consumers were demanding that they wanted new and improved wearable tech however were disappointed on what was currently to market.
The drive to understand how to make a better product ultimately lead me to graphene and photonic crystals. Graphene and photonic crystals is what makes up my material matrix that will one day be applied to textiles…ultimately leading to big changes in the fashion industry.
LH: Graphene was my first choice in my material matrix. It made complete sense to work with this material rather than others that are currently available. Graphene is a 2D material also known as a “metamaterial” or “invisible material” this means you can only see it on a microscopic level. Graphene originally comes from the mineral graphite, when you take one layer of graphite it because graphene. With this single layer of graphene comes its many intrinsic properties like: graphene is a super conductor, 200x stronger than steel, stretchable, flexible and invisible. All of these qualities make it perfect for new electronics and wearable tech applications.
I chose photonic crystals because they are another layered 2D material. The colors that they produce are structural color (so no pigments) their structural color comes from the light source. I wanted to add photonic crystals into my material matrix in order to have a non pigmented form of color. This ultimately making my matrix more sustainable and eco friendly.
L.H: To create a programmable fiber/textile that can change from colors, patterns and designs via a smart device.
L.H: Still being tested and developed in a chem lab! Prototype, prototype and prototype!
L.H: YES! One hundred percent! Artist and scientist both have a different way of thinking and viewing the world. We are both innovators and creators. There is a nice balance between the different types of education we receive throughout our degrees. Artist and scientist create a nice intellectual balance when viewing the same equation. An artist will see something that the scientist missed and the scientist will be more practical on what can and cannot be done at the time. Art and science should go back together as one instead of being so separated.
L.H: Scientist from metamaterials and bio-design backgrounds.
L.H: Innovation is key. Not everything has been invented in the world yet. When I start on a new design project I intertwine research with making/prototyping until I get something new that works.
L.H: I start with inspiration (which comes from anywhere and everywhere). Then I research and make small samples until I get the design just right. My design process requires a lot of research and small prototyping/design outcomes. Design takes time, and I always have to remind myself that the first prototype I make will not be perfect and it will be filled with flaws. But it is through design and more research which will ultimately lead to a beautiful and final design outcome.
L.H: Anyone with an innovative mind that questions the world around us.
L.H: Know when to take advice or to keep your own. Try to expand to new design areas that you have not yet explored. Keep an open mind about your design path and where you think it will lead you. Try to take new design challenges that make you feel uncomfortable…this will only help you grow and become a stronger designer. Collaborate!
L.H: A job in the design field and a PhD.
Special thanks to L.H