Fashioning Aerospace Round Table: Top 5 takeaways

Gemini viii ; Alexander McQeen Spring 2012

Why Fashion & Aerospace?

These words together represent a hidden world of opportunity between art and science that carries major implications for the future. It is about making aerospace more relatable and embracing the idea that we have so much more growth to look forward to amongst humanity, but also about fashion embracing its best qualities and creating pathways to innovation otherwise remotely possible through fashion.

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It is a chance for a marketing executives and fashion technologists to collaborate with aerospace engineers and create marketable products for the real world, terrestrially, today. It is an opportunity for companies selling the dream of space travel to create experiences that tap into basic human emotions that create long-lasting bonds. Through materials science and manufacturing technology, it is a time for science fiction to become manifest throughout our daily lives. And it is an opportunity to explore the awe that space can inspire through design, immersive experiences, and artful communication.

Eager to gather together brilliant minds also motivated by these issues, Starkweather hosted the first Fashion & Aerospace Round Table discussion in New York on March 8th. With representatives from fashion, aerospace, materials science, medicine, law and communications, this multidisciplinary group identified some highly compelling themes within this ongoing conversation.

These five key takeaways from the first fashion & aerospace round table just scratch the surface of what we can and will achieve together:

1) The inherent contradiction between the two is a direct indicator of the value they can bring each other:

“Fashion is inherently human, Aerospace is not.”

Within that contradiction lies the opportunity. Tension, diverse experiences and differing points of view allow for new discussions to take place that wouldn’t be considered in a silo. From that, the breadth and depth of the issues encompassed by Fashioning Aerospace are revealed. This is very intriguing because it signifies meaningful scalability and significant potential impact.

The words next to each other tell a compelling story that is so much more complex than the sum of their parts. In fact it will be our challenge to constantly poke and prod the intersection in order to access the areas of greatest potential impact. We will likely keep ourselves surprised and delighted for a long to come by the products of this discussion and community.

2) New materials and manufacturing are two areas of industry that represent important commercial opportunity between science and design, today. Because their motivations are different, and the way they handle materials is different, their desires and curiosity will lead to different questions and to different applications. The potential advances that can be made through collaboartive, multidisciplinary development could take us leaps and bounds ahead of where siloed development would.

3) There are important legal and ethical considerations that we will need to address along the way. As with any new technology, we will face questions about how to handle the changes to our daily lives and what we are willing to give up of what we know to adopt change.

Space exploration has always been an international effort, whether in competition or in concert, and this will certainly only become more true. There will be questions of how to prepare for the global interactions on this level and who will be setting the regulations in the final frontier. Cultural differences and conflicting priorities around the globe will have to be respectfully adressed.

We should have these discussions early and often.

4) Education and Immersive Experience are going to be essential tools for engaging the broader public over time. Imagination, creativity and science fiction offer endless possibilities for storytelling and entertainment. The fashion industry excells in marketing, and in creating a sense of aspiration amongst consumers. While artful fashion can inspire awe in an audience, the awesomeness of space is irreplicable. Our challenge will be to find ways to communicate that feeling expressed by astronauts who have experienced the “overview effect” to the public. We can have a lot of fun with this, using both traditional methods and new technology, reaching the imaginaitons of the creatives and the analytical alike.

5) The conversation of Fashion & Aerospace is more than just about Fashion and about Aerospace. It is about the implications on a philosophical, economical, physiological, and sociological level. It is a conversation about entire environments and creating a new world for humans to live in that takes the same considerations as fashion, regarding the individual and the necessity of human expression. This conversation is also about science learning how to treat humans more humanely. We are at an intersection where our technological capabilities allow us to explore creative interpretations of new advancements, and from our position in the world we have the privilege to do so.

N90 Star Cluster, Hubble ; Alexander McQueen Atlantis Collection

It will be thrilling to watch this area of industry evolve as we get into more specialized conversations and expand the community. It will also continue to inspire and invigorate, when generous and bright individuals come around a table and spark each other’s imaginations and curiosity. This is the power that both fashion and space share: dreaming of what is possible, and pushing boundaries to get to closer to the answers we seek.

Starkweather is organizing a larger, mixed-format event to take place in Spring 2018, with a series of round tables leading up to the 2018 symposium. Sign up to our newsletter for event announcements and community news.

Read more about Fashioning Aerospace




Design strategist, researcher & educator. 🔎 sustainable future through design science collaboration & new business models. 📚 @SDSParsons . Also @faarfutures

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Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson

Design strategist, researcher & educator. 🔎 sustainable future through design science collaboration & new business models. 📚 @SDSParsons . Also @faarfutures

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