It never occurred to me fashion my own zipper — buttons yes, but zippers? When you place rapid prototyping technology into a talented young fashion designers hands such as Marie Genevieve Cyr, a Montreal designer who just happened to be a contestant on the Canadian Project Runway, you get fun and fascinating material experimentations that may challenge Y2K’s zipper monopoly. Marie Genevieve Cyr embarked on the task to create her own fasteners because “by producing objects of mass-production with your own hands, the maker experiences the process and gains a closer connection to the finished product.” She designed two wearables, a transparent vinyl coat and a delicate chiffon tank, onto which she added her own custom fabricated zippers and buttons.
The choice in delicate and transparent materials for the garments was intended to juxtapose the weight of the fabricated fasteners, drawing attention to the design of the zippers and buttons themselves. For me, this project illuminates two interesting points. First off, as 3D rapid prototyping technologies become cheaper and more accessible to individual designers our modes of production will be witnessing a dramatic change. Often this is discussed in the product design arena, but, as Marie Genevieve Cyr’s project suggests, it will certainly trickle into the fashion industry. I’m not predicting the end to “fast fashion” but I am imagining a more sustainable production process that we as designers and consumers can choose to opt into. Secondly, the future techno-atelier could possibly consist of fab labs — with zippers, buttons and much more made to order. Will the haute-tech fashion designer be skilled in Maya as she well as she is draping? If Marie Genevieve Cyr is any indication, I say the answer is an empahtic yes!