Flavia Bon & Anita Michaluszko
NEW CRAFTS by Crafts Council Nederland
Fashion designer Flavia Bon and textile designer Anita Michaluszko entered the New Crafts project with an open question: what happens when physical and digital fashion and textile design collide?
Bon and Michaluszko were both educated in physical crafts: Bon was schooled as a tailor and subsequently as a fashion designer, Michaluszko studied textile and fashion design as well as fine arts. They went to the same university for some time, but would only meet years after their respective graduations. Even before that, they did have something in common: a fascination for machines and computer software, and a knack for manipulating these for the sake of creative experimentation.
Bon and Michaluszo finally connected over their interest in the possibilities of virtual fashion. Designing for the virtual world – the metaverse for example, or games – comes with many benefits. For instance, it offers considerable artistic freedom to makers, who are able to evade the limits and consequences of material production. Still, Michaluszko and Bon did not abandon their physical crafts in favour of it. On the contrary: their work in the virtual world challenges them to expand their knowledge of tangible textiles and clothes. To produce convincing designs for the virtual world requires a deep understanding of physical tailoring techniques and materials, they argue. At the same time, virtual fashion encourages them to look beyond the boundaries of their physical crafts practice.
As part of New Crafts, Bon and Michaluszko developed examples of workflows based on constant interaction between physical and digital. The resulting products, such as fabrics and virtual jewellery, are central to the project but were never its main aim. Rather, they are visualisations, try-outs and tests of a thought process that continues to unfold.
Text: Nora Veerman
Photography: Fan Liao