Borre Akkersdijk: Reappropriating Industrial Machines

Borre Akkersdijk: Reappropriating Industrial Machines

Knitting 3D Patterns, a documentary on the work of Borre Akkersdijk.

The way of the future for fashion is not simply through new designs but also in rethinking the industry including all aspects of how we use, wear, make, recycle, market and sell our clothes.

One of the most fascinating areas of fashion design that requires hours of research and development is in the manufacture of garments, especially when a designer or production manager wants to try to use new manufacturing methods.

The video below shows a unique example of how existing machines used for making the thick, wadded fabric designed for mattresses have been reappropriated by Borre Akkersdijk to put them into a garment context. Large round knitting machines are often used for creating tubes of jerseys, cotton ribs for singlet tops etc. In the context of mattresses they have more 3D capabilities and Akkersdijk has really seized on this ability to engineer garments in multiple directions.

One of the most intriguing parts of the video is where Huub Waulthers, the knitting Product Developer, explains how a combination of threads are used for their different properties. There are top threads to provide the coloured outer layer while a polyamide thread is used to draw together the different layers due to it’s strength and durability (picture the fine strength of fishing line). Between these threads are thicker threads that are used to create the filling of the more built up areas, and another thinner thread shrinks under heat and steam, meaning that the fabric takes on it’s more dynamic shape after a hit with the iron.

Through the sketches, to the technical drawings (with pixel measurements sketched in the borders) you can see how each design has to be carefully thought out in its entirety in order for all the measurements and different threads to all come together. The result is knitted 3D panels with the textured appearance of quilting, that have a less dense border area to allow for a manageable seam allowance.

The nice cherry-on-the-top of this whole process is that the concept has been carried through from beginning to end with a very contemporary feel. Though Akkersdijk claims to not be a fashion designer, and claims that they are just basic shapes that he is using, the resulting garments do not feel like the process has overwhelmed the end product. From the colours chosen to the focused use of techniques the pieces seem like they would sit right at home amongst pieces by other designers such as Chalayan, Miyake and Kawakubo. It seems that from the work on his website, Akkersdijk has the ability to apply his different skills to different innovative projects and this has enabled the whole concept to side step being a fashion/tech novelty.

Video Stills from “Knitting 3D Patterns”, a documentary on the work of Borre Akkersdijk. Look book images of “Ready-Made” Collection from».

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