Animation, Fashion and Sustainability

Kathryn McKelvey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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This paper presents an experiment, within a PhD project, to create a two-dimensional (2D) fashion design tool using animation techniques. The tool appropriates Adobe After Effects software (incurring low costs) supporting innovation early in the design process: design takes place on the timeline, utilising rotating mood-boards and application of design elements to a fashion figure. The technique requires some prior knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, unlike specialist computer-aided design (CAD) software, which requires much training.

Fast fashion and rapid consumption dominate the fashion industry, in response, some designers adopt a slow fashion philosophy, utilising local craft industries, or integrating vintage garments into their collections, many with innovative approaches to sustainability.

A research through design experiment explored whether the animation tool could support sustainable approaches to fashion. A foundational concept was to re-use and up-cycle by producing design for a limited-edition range. Healthy stocks of men’s white shirts are available in charity shops, allowing the concept to be repeatable on small scales. The shirts would not need to be cut into until ideas were developed. The retained proportions of the deconstructed shirts created realistic design propositions.

A method developed: firstly, to photograph the shirts, deconstructing them in Adobe Photoshop. Fabrics were added to the deconstructed elements when imported into Adobe After Effects, creating new designs on the timeline. Construction and cut were considered. Hand drawn, large-scale prints were then superimposed mixing the hand crafted with the digital process, adding unique selling points.

Reflective practice, in and on action, revealed that the figure and prints do not need to be repeatedly re-drawn. Rotating mood-boards also reminded the designer of their research inspiration. An element of the unpredictable - moving from one transition to another - was also discovered, further advancing design development. Feedback from fashion lecturers and students revealed perceived value for the technique.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFuturescan 4: Valuing Practice
EditorsHelena Britt, Kevin Almond, Laura Morgan
Place of Publicationonline
PublisherAssociation of Fashion and Textiles Courses
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781527249691
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2019
EventFuturescan 4: Valuing Practice - University of Bolton, Bolton, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jan 201924 Jan 2019


ConferenceFuturescan 4: Valuing Practice
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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