“The value of an idea lies in the using of it,” inventor Thomas Alva Edison once said. At the ISPO Academy Masterclass follow-up workshop, Australian student Chloé Kerr from the International Fashion Academy (IFA) in Paris and her Portuguese colleague, Joana Cardinal of the Modatex in Porto, found out for themselves just how exciting – and challenging – this process can be. The two students were assisted by Michelle Ruchay and Raphaela Franke from the Sigmaringen School of Fashion.
The idea of the “genderless jacket” came straight from the ISPO Academy Masterclass at the ISPO Munich 2017. Under the direction of successful designers Nora Kühner and Rolf Günther, a group of textile students including Kerr and Cardinal had developed jacket concepts for the future.
In the five-day follow-up workshop, the students were expected to implement one of their ideas under the direction of Kühner and designer Cornelia Sievers. The selling point for the “genderless jacket” is that it can be worn by women and men alike. The basic template for the concept development was provided by modern, urban nomads looking for a versatile item of clothing suited to everyday use for a variety of occasions.
The pioneering and ambitious design incorporated a neat twist: The “genderless jacket” can be turned from a blanket into a jacket or a protective cover. “It was great to see how the students got involved with the concept and developed it further,” says Kühner. The cut in particular, which was designed using two cotton models, apparently took a lot of work.
The final result is designed to “express the wearer’s attitude to life and transcend the barriers of pure functionality that usually limit the imagination put into sports clothing,” explains Kühner. Adaptability in fit, form and function – this principle has been honored ever since the original concept. “The students also learn a lot about cuts, ergonomics and bodies in motion when they tackle the subject of outdoor and sports clothing,” says Kühner.
“For me, the jacket shows that we need to broaden our horizons in the functional clothing sector of the sports business,” says Kühner. This principle was demonstrated perfectly by a spontaneous idea raised during the design process: with its parallel function as a blanket, the jacket could be the perfect companion for outdoor concerts.
Special fabrics and materials were used during production. “Implementing their concept ideas from the masterclass also gives the young designers completely new experiences in working with sports fabrics and padding,” says Kühner. Fabrics that are used in the sports sector would mostly not be used in training. But this is basic knowledge for development and production in the sports industry, Kühner tells us.
The main sponsor was Freudenberg Performance Materials. The inner-lining fabrics specialist supported the follow-up workshop and delivered Comfortemp Fiberball Padding with a thermal-insulated inner-lining material for the “genderless jacket.” “Aside from the constructive collaboration with customers and partners, we wish to promote innovative ideas from young, up-and-coming talents,” says Julia Chluba, who runs the fashion atelier at Freudenberg.
“The masterclass follow-up workshop is the perfect platform to provide the students with an innovative product,” says Chluba of Freudenberg. “Comfortemp Fiberball Padding is a fantastic thermal insulation manufactured using small fiber balls made of extra fine fiber.” The special structure of the small fiber balls provided very good thermal insulation with optimum breathability, maximum comfort and low weight, Chluba explains further.
While the “genderless jacket” was being developed, three more students at the Sigmaringen School of Fashion were bringing another concept from the ISPO Academy Masterclass 2016 to life. Ka-Sua Tiuthadvilai, Eva-Maria Stern and Jannik Kurz produced a cycling jacket for urban female cyclists.
“It was very exciting and interesting to dive into the subject of sports clothing,” says Kurz on the experience of building bridges between fashion design and the sports world. “Producing the selected models for ourselves gave us a completely new perspective on the relationship between attractive design and the importance of ensuring the necessary viability in an item of clothing.”
Eva-Maria Stern agrees with this: “The project gave us – for a short time – a very extensive look into the field of sportswear. I’m now very much interested in expanding on my skills in this field.”
Those are words that Nora Kühner and the development division in the sports textile industry will definitely enjoy hearing. After the successful première of the follow-up workshop, the team has declared its aim to organize follow-up workshops for future ISPO Academy Masterclasses – in keeping with the spirit of Thomas Alva Edison.
Along with ISPO and Freudenberg Performance Materials, the following companies donated free materials to the workshop:
- Padding cycling jacket: American Wool Council
- Outer fabric: Schoeller Textil AG
- Zips, eyelets, etc.: YKK
- Fastenings: Fidlock GmbH
- Reflective material for cycling jacket: Regine IQtrim GmbH
- Lining for cycling jacket: Eurojersey spa
- Stitching for inner lining of cycling jacket: Polyfill Produktions-GmbH