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A New Era of Designers for the Future

The sun has set on another successful ideation, and while my skin still bears the marks of the Miami sun, it is my unique privilege to begin the cycle again for 2019. Since 2015, I have had the honor of curating an annual competition for students, culminating with a fashion show at Gerber’s yearly event in the fall. It is truly one of the most fulfilling and thrilling aspects of my position.

As we proceed into our fifth year of the Gerber Technology Student FashionTech Competition, I want to take a moment to highlight what makes this competition truly shine: the students. This competition would be nothing without their dedication and creativity. Starting from the new year, we ask a lot of our student designers. From concept to completion, the students are challenged not only to provide a unique and well constructed garment, but any number of other tasks: sketches and design outlines, AccuMark pattern data, YuniquePLM tech packs, and social media updates. Every year, we are astounded by the industry of these students on display; all of this is achieved in addition to their busy school and personal lives!

Initially, the students were tasked with looking to vintage garments supplied by Charlotte Smith. In recent years, we have instead favored a tech based theme with garments being designed with technology in mind and covering a wide range of tech topics. From digital printing to sustainability to functionality, the student designers have pushed the envelope on thoughtful, forward thinking garments. Coupled with a choice of colors inspired by the Pantone Color of the Year, the students had their hands full taking on this momentous undertaking.

For 2018, our judging panel had the unenviable charge of narrowing the choices down to five finalists from an initial pool of over 100 students from 40 schools across 4 countries --- no easy task, to be sure! These five designers reaped the benefits of many hours spent toiling over their designs, with airfare and accommodations for the ideation event, a year’s subscription to AccuMark and YuniquePLM, and the invaluable opportunity to mingle with industry professionals. This culminated in a fashion show featuring each student’s garment on the runway, along with an audience vote for grand prize: a one year license for AccuMark 3D!

These five students designers --- our Fantastic Five, if you will --- each presented a distinct take on the concept of FashionTech. They exemplify the future of the industry (as all devoted students do), looking forward to new ways of implementing ideas with an eye to both form and function.

Adrian Guevara took influences from Aztec culture and street style. His menswear garment utilized natural dye and the Aztec calendar along with LED lights and laser cutting to create something urban and modern.

Angelica Alarcon utilized geometric art and structural elements to create a stunning jacket and pants. The sculptural geometry of the sleeves included solar panels to power personal tech, creating a look both fashion and function.

Loren Franco found inspiration from women’s empowerment and warrior women, employing technology and color to create a fun, edgy dress. The main fabric was created using digital printing, along with floral designs on the sleeves created from a cutting machine.

For her entry, Sigele Nickerson-Adams focused on applying sustainable manufacturing techniques. This was accomplished through the use of zero waste pattern design, implemented through a  creative employment of the AccuMark Pattern Design Software.

Ty Wilson, who was this year’s grand prize winner, pulled inspiration from two of her favorite designers, Balmain and Guo Pei, while also incorporating her love for whimsical costumes (and Steven Universe!). The digital print is custom designed, topped off with 3D printed beads for the half asymmetrical bustier, to create her stunning Translucid look.

With 2019 swiftly approaching, we are already preparing for an exhilarating new cycle of guidelines and deadlines, ideas and inspirations. Plans kick off soon, with schools preparing their students for the coming year’s themes and rules. It will mean new challenges for a whole new group of students, finishing off in New York City come the fall, and I for one cannot wait to see how this turns out.  

-- Barry Fuhrman is an AccuMark Application Specialist at Gerber Technology

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