2015-05-22 13:52

Creating movement-based garments

Forget front and back pieces, shoulder seams and straight-line pieces of cloth. By using the idea of cloth draped around a moving body as his starting point, Rickard Lindqvist, doctoral student at the Swedish School of Textiles, has created a new and more flexible framework for garment construction. He is the first person to defend a doctoral thesis in fashion design at the Swedish School of Textiles.

Fig. 1 Rickard Lindqvist"I propose a theoretical framework for garment construction that is based on studies of body and cloth in mutual interaction," says Rickard Lindqvist. The framework, Kinetic Garment Construction, has been developed through experiments where I have draped cloths on live bodies, in motion. The result enables new types of expression and sophisticated functions of the garment with relation to the body and its movements."

Think about how a tailor normally takes a person's measurements or how pattern pieces are laid out on the cloth. The normal way to do this is by using straight lines. The measurements are generally taken on a body that is standing still, either vertically or horizontally. The pattern pieces are positioned straightly on the cloth.

"Traditionally, we follow a tailoring matrix, an interpretation model of the body that was introduced during the 1800s, alongside industrialisation," says Rickard Lindqvist. "But this matrix, consisting of horizontal and vertical lines, has some clear flaws when it comes to how a moving body interacts with flexible cloths. That is why I have developed a proposal for a different framework."

Follows the body's movements

In concrete terms, Rickard Lindqvist has used a number of different starting points on the body: shoulders and waist. These are the points where garments normally rest or hang. He has draped cloth on living models and tested how the cloth falls. That has then been combined with how the cloth ought to be draped in order to stay in place while at the same time allowing the arms and legs to move freely.

The thesis: Kinetic garment construction – Remarks on the foundations of pattern cutting
By: doctoral student Rickard Lindqvist
At: Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås
Supervisor: Professor Clemens Thornquist, Swedish School of Textiles
Public defence: 29 April 2015,  10.00, Vestindien B, Textile Fashion Center, Skaraborgsvägen 3A, Borås
Read the thesis online  

The garments that are constructed on the basis of this framework can often be cut in one single piece of cloth. This means the direction of the cloth varies with relation to the body and because cloth can be stretchable in certain parts, the degree of flexibility varies, just like the pattern of movements of different body parts varies.

At first glance, a suit jacket made in accordance with Rickard Lindqvist's framework looks like an ordinary suit jacket. But if you look at the seams, you can see it has no shoulder seams and the side seam does not run vertically down the side but is instead curved to the front. The sleeves have a seam with a clear bend for the elbow.

"When you wear these clothes, you notice how they follow the movements of the body differently from what we are used to," says Rickard.

Basic research showing the way forward

Rickard Lindqvist is a qualified gents' tailor and fashion designer and used to have his own brand name. He says that he has always perceived the classical tailoring matrix as being problematic and not working very well but it was hard to pinpoint why.

Rickard Lindqvist

Earlier attempts to improve the contouring of clothes have often consisted of making adjustments to the tailoring matrix. But now a completely new framework has been created.

The framework is a development of the work done by the French  costume designer Genevieve Sevin-Doering. During the 1970s and 80s, she developed ways of cutting garments in one single piece of cloth and then draping the garment around the body. Using her work as a starting point, Rickard Lindqvist has experimented and developed the methods and also formulated a theory about how it works.

"This is a theory that can open up for further developments. I see this as being basic research. I am not proving a thesis but proposing an approach that may lead to other applications. Now it remains to be seen how it can be used and who can use it."



Fig. 1 Traditional tailoring matrix (to the left) and Kinetic Construction matrix (to the right)

Fig. 2 Striped body stocking constructed on the basis of the Kinetic Garment Construction theory, Photo: Daniel Grizelj

Fig. 3 Striped jumpsuit constructed on the basis of the Kinetic Garment Construction theory, Photo: Daniel Grizelj