Digital Disturbances

By Jo Phillips

As they open their doors again for the autumn term, the London College of Fashion welcomes a new exhibition at Fashion Space Gallery. Opening on the 11th of September, Digital Disturbances explores the ‘The New Aesthetic’ in fashion, a term coined by James Bridle in 2011 to describe the increasing influence of the visual language of digital technology and the Internet.


 As we enter ‘the Digital Age’, technology has had a profound effect across almost every type of industry, and it continues to advance to the point where its scope is really limitless.

 The fashion industry is a prime example: from digital prints to wearable tech, brands are integrating these modern tools into every business and creative process as a way to connect across all areas and innovate to create something new.

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 However, digital is still a path relatively untraveled and its influence and usage is still in need of critical assessment and definition. This is the core concept that Leanne Wierzba sought to develop when curating Digital Disturbances.

 The exhibition explores how designers today are examining their capacity to integrate digital techniques into their creative practices, and at what cost in doing so. It provides a showcase for seven designers and creative teams who are using technology disruptively, who are working against conventional understanding.

 The biggest challenge for Wierzba was “carving out a space to discuss things that aren’t immediately obvious or tangible. Whenever I mentioned working on an exhibition on digital fashion, most people had a preconceived idea on what it would include… but my approach to the exhibition is a bit unexpected, and full of challenging ideas”.

Wierzba is definitely right in saying that Digital Disturbances is not what you’d expect; the sheer breath of artistic mediums that have been used to bridge the gap physical and virtual is both captivating and thought-provoking.

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Ripple, an interactive film installation by Postmatter uses an interactive film to simulate a virtual experience of touch, whilst Shirts from Simone C. Niquille’s REALFACE Glamouflage collection raises questions about the impact of facial recognition technology and surveillance on personal privacy and both Echo by Bart Hess and ANREALAGE’s wideshortslimlong deal directly with how aesthetic and physical properties can be manipulated using digital software. These are just a few examples of the type of installations you will see get to see at the exhibition, which is also going to be accompanied by an series of talks, workshops and masterclasses.

 With Digital Disturbances, Wierzba invites audiences to “broaden their digital imagination and consider how digital impacts the way we engage with ourselves and our surroundings as it becomes increasingly immersed into our lives”.

 The end of the exhibition merely brings you to the beginning of a conversation: the now, near and future of fashion technology.

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Written by Alana Kennedy, studying International Fashion Management at London College of Fashion, UAL



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