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Ravensbourne collaborates with European Space Agency

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

31 May 2016


The Science Museum in London has partnered with the European Space Agency to host ‘Couture in Orbit’ a catwalk project that challenged students from five fashion schools across Europe to create outfits inspired by space flight.

The only UK institution to be selected was Ravensbourne from London, who featured alongside Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Téchniques de la Mode in Paris and Berlin, Milan’s Politecnico, and Copenhagen’s Fashion Design Akademies, with each city chosen to mark the five European Space Agency missions to the International Space Station (ISS) between 2014 and 2016.

The challenge was to bring science and couture together using the latest innovative technologies and materials, from embedded sensors to heating units and super-absorbent textiles, as well as to predict the future of fashion in designs that are desirable and practical, whilst showcasing their national cultures. With all students provided with space-certified textiles provided by the ESA, supported by companies Bionic Yarn and Sympatex.

Ravensbourne students’ designs were selected from across four different courses - MA and BA Fashion, MA Wearable Futures and BA Fashion Accessory Design. With highlighted designs including space inspired handbags, neck pieces, headwear including retractable hoods, casual separates, footwear, and outerwear.

European Space Agency hosts ‘Couture in Orbit’ catwalk

Caroline Gilbey, associate dean of fashion at Ravensbourne said: “The project has given our students the chance to collaborate not only with one another but also with high-profile fabric sponsors across the world. The final outcome shown at the Science Museum proves that these students rose to the challenge.”

Rosita Suenson, human spaceflight communication programme officer at European Space Agency added: "The students have really impressed us with original ideas and stories about the future of space travel and the marriage of fashion and technology. Working with the students at Ravensbourne convinced me that design, space, and wearable technology is here to stay.”

The idea of the one-off showcase was to see the European Space Agency engage with a different audience, as well as to assist in combining the fashion and technology fields.

Images: courtesy of Ravensbourne

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