Issue #3(13) 2017 Space Lounge

Dressing up for space

Food Keeper design by Sam Martin-Harper, Ravensbourne, UK.
Food Keeper design by Sam Martin-Harper, Ravensbourne, UK.
Annalisa Dominoni Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Benedetto Quaquaro Politecnico di Milano, Italy

How do you make space research more attractive for the non-space community and draw more people into this exciting future? One answer is to seek out unlikely collaborations and this is just what the European Space Agency (ESA) did for its ‘Couture in Orbit’ project in conjunction with the Design School of the Politecnico di Milano, Italy. In this case, students were inspired to produce cutting-edge design work, looking at what space adventurers might wear in the future and how it might be adapted to suit the needs of space-bound tourists.

The NewSpace economy is looking for new ways of communicating space. In an age crowded with digital innovation mainly involving the movements of our fingers, the space community must find a new language to entice the public and help explain why space research and its impact is so important.

Space exploration offers fantastic scenarios of experimentation that can be transformed and reinterpreted by the language of fashion – an area that is far removed from the scientific world and yet has an important role to play by finding new applications for clothing technologies that can enhance the comfort and performance of people who wear them.

ESA has already addressed this new dynamic with its Couture in Orbit project. To mark the missions of five European astronauts - from Italy, the UK, France, Denmark and Germany - between 2014 and 2016, it organised an innovative event in May 2016 at the London Science Museum involving a fashion school from each of the astronauts’’ home countries.

Students were invited to participate in this unique event by envisioning and creating everyday fashion for a tomorrow’s world, where space travel is common and gravity is not a barrier. Students were also asked to design garments using what they perceive to be future space ‘technology’.

It was also an opportunity to look at the role of technology in relation to fashion and how innovation is incorporated in its production processes. The fashion system has an important and strategic role in this area because, on the one hand, costumes are a strong behaviour catalyst able to drive lifestyles, thoughts and beliefs and, on the other hand, it involves innovation, research and technologies which take shape through smart materials and devices that are integrated into garments.

Find out more about the exciting 'Couture in Orbit' project in the full version of the article, available now to our subscribers!

To continue reading this premium article, subscribe now for unlimited access to all online content

If you already have a login and password to access - Please log in to be able to read all the articles of the site.

Popular articles

See also

Space Lounge

Space – Overcoming Our Limitations


Japan’s H-IIA rocket: beautiful, accurate, and on-time

Space Environment

The dwarf galaxy problem

Popular articles

Diffuse, water-ice clouds, a hazy sky and a light breeze. Such might have read a weather forecast for the Tharsis volcanic region on Mars on 22 November 2016, when this image was taken by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. Space Science

When it comes to water Mars may not be the promised land

When the US transcontinental railroad was being contemplated, regional rail providers had limited and isolated markets that were successful but not scalable – when it comes to the exploitation of space resources there may be modern day economic paral Astronautics

Maximising the economic opportunities of deep space

Space Environment

Zero gravity and the human heart