Brooke Roberts: Fusing Fashion & Tech
But her design inspirations came from her then day job – 2 years after graduating from Central Saint Martins, Roberts had a light bulb moment when looking at a CT scan of a brain. She then created a knitted catsuit by digitally programming the scan into a knitting machine. (Her scans come from friends and family.) You can see how a scan evolves into a design in this short video.
Since then, her career has progressed in leaps and bounds since she decided to move away from the stress associated with producing a collection every 6 months. Her current focus is fashion knitwear consultancy: “I utilise my science-inspired and technical approach to digital knitting to create knitwear for a number of luxury fashion brands. I am passionate about technology driving the knitting and design process and the growing technical textile and wearables sectors”, she enthuses.
She is also becoming increasingly involved in the fashion technology discourse in London and abroad, with blogs about the fashion tech world for the Huffington Post as well as her own blog, Techstyler. Roberts takes a serious look at the topic without making it into an overly academic read: “I tend to focus on new technologies and the application, or potential application, of them in the fashion industry, and write about technology from a fashion designer’s perspective.”
In addition to consulting for other brands, Roberts also works on various tech projects. Earlier this year, she was asked to curate the Fashion Tech launch of London Technology Week by the Mayor of London’s promotional office; London and Partners. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Roberts decided to do some big picture thinking about who she could invite to take part, instead of taking the potentially easier route of putting together a collection of wearables, given that most people are already familiar with items such as Fitbits and Apple watches. “My aim was to showcase the symbiotic fusion of fashion and technology. I brought together a collection of collaborative fashion and technology products and projects. These include the Headworks holographic mannequin by animator Dominic Faraway; Modeclix, the first draped 3D-printed fabric to follow the contours of the body; my own knitwear, combining brain scans and the latest digital knitting techniques; and the 360-degree virtual reality experience taking viewers to the front row of London Fashion Week, by creative communications agency Village.”
She also debuted her “Fashbot R(evolution)”, produced in collaboration with Holition and InMoov. For this robot installation, Roberts designed a dress for the robot and fashion illustrations were then projected onto it.
While she still does occasional radiography work to keep her hand in – “it feeds into my technical textile concepts and inspires me to continue fusing science, technology and knitwear design” she explains – Roberts is currently in working on a proposal for a new technical textile and robotics project which has potential applications in fashion and beyond. Stay tuned!