The idea of embedding nature in our garments is no longer a dream for some fashion designers, but a reality indeed. Such is the concept of a coat made of elastomer rubber that was created in collaboration with two ESILV students enrolled in the Innovation, Research and Manufacturing programme. This innovative garment which entered in the 2020 E-Fashion Awards competition, won the jury’s “Coup de Coeur” award.
The “Symbiose pneumatic coat” project was carried out at the De Vinci Innovation Center in collaboration with Auréliane Catteeu, a fashion school student. To create her line of clothing called ” ECHO TECH FUSION ” on the theme of the interaction between the vegetal and technology, this fashion designer called upon two students from ESILV, members of the Innovation, Research and Manufacturing programme: Thibault Charlet, class of 2022 and Madalina Nicolae, class of 2021.
The coat that embodies elements of vegetation was noticed by the jury of the E-Fashions Awards 2020 competition, which awarded the young designer supported by ESILV students the “Coup de Coeur” prize.
Elastomers and vegetation, the portrayal of the human relationship with nature
Inspired by humans’ relationship with nature, the Symbiose inflatable coat mixes two seemingly incompatible elements: rubber and vegetation elements.
“I would like it to visually demonstrate the harmony between these two universes by introducing emotion, questioning, and our connection to materials through this technological breakthrough. “(Auréliane Catteau)
The elastomer is regularly used in the “Soft & Active Matter” lab at the De Vinci Innovation Center. Though, manipulating this material to create an aesthetic garment that would blend in with nature, was a significant challenge for the two students at the De Vinci Innovation Center.
“The unique feature of elastomers is that they can only be manipulated for a brief period in their liquefied state until they reach their curing phase.
Moreover, this fabric adheres almost exclusively to itself and cannot be sewn, given its high risk of ripping. We were therefore facing a material that is complex to handle, impossible to sew, to make a garment with a surface area of about three square metres,” explains Thibault Charlet.
The Innovation, Research and Manufacturing programme, a value-generating work
Despite the difficulty of the task to achieve a perfect hermetic effect and the integration of a network of phosphorescent ribs of an electronic circuit, the young designer’s idea became a reality.
” Thanks to the collaboration with student engineers from ESILV, I was able to incorporate electronic components into the garments, which spread lighting effects that enhance the environment at night.”. (Auréliane Catteau)
“At the end of an incredibly lengthy process (each piece of elastomer needing 2 hours to dry) the project finally kept its promise,” adds Thibault Charlet.
Now a reference for young talent, the E-Fashion Awards competition is based on three pillars and their complementarity: fashion, digital and new technologies. This year’s theme was dedicated to “responsible ambition” and breakthrough innovation. The 16 finalists were selected from among 87 participants.
Within the De Vinci Innovation Center, the Master’s level MRI programme offers a unique opportunity for students to develop scientific, design and business skills simultaneously. Through a series of core courses, students explore new cutting-edge technologies such as smart materials, mixed realities, artificial intelligence, bio-hacking and many others to develop new innovative products.