Art and design students have traversed fashion’s final frontier in China, creating cutting-edge wearable technology.
As part of a research trip, a dozen students from the Queensland College of Art worked with their Chinese counterparts at the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts and Shandong University of Art and Design on a collection that melds futuristic fashion with traditional Chinese motifs.
The results were exhibited at a fashion show in Jinan, which featured blue-tooth enabled accessories, light-up PVC dresses, and 3D printed, interactive LED garments.
A life-changing experience
For Bachelor of Creative and Interactive Media student Valencia Prizzi the trip was a life-changing experience.
“This was my first time overseas, so I was really grateful for the opportunity,” she said.
“It was a total culture shock and a big learning curve. It really tested us and pushed us in new directions.
“We learned so much from working with the Chinese students – they are light years ahead when it comes to applying technology to design.
“I think it’s inevitable that fashion and design will start to incorporate technology – it’s the way of the future.”
Rising to the challenge
Design lecturer Daniel Della-Bosca said the students faced a range of creative and technical challenges during the research trip.
“We looked at the idea of intangible cultural heritage, and tried to make these incredibly high-tech smart designs that incorporated aspects of traditional Chinese embroidery, Ming dynasty armour and traditional ceramic patterns,” he said.
“It was a high-pressure trip with long days, intense deadlines and presentations to deliver each day, and the students were overcoming the barriers of language through the design collaboration.
“I think it was a real eye-opener for our students, and they really stepped up.”
Working on the world stage
Queensland College of Art Director Professor Derrick Cherrie said exchange opportunities gave students the skills they need to pursue an international design career.
“At QCA we are preparing our students to re-think and challenge the world around them, and equip them for the future of work in a global community,” he said.
“Exchange programs like this really drive home the value of an art and design education here at Griffith.
“The immersive experience of working in China, one of Australia’s most significant trading partners, ensured QCA students were offered a deep, practical, in-person, understanding of engaging with a foreign culture.
“No other art and design college in Queensland offers its students such life-changing learning experiences.”