Constant reinvention and reconstruction of self is believed to be the key to success in life. However, this concept is also trusted when it comes to the design industry. For years, designers have delved deep into the past, searching for inspiration and they are almost never disappointed. In fact, many fashion designers use old architecture to incorporate into the designs on their fabrics, recreating images using embroidery, embellishments, etc.
“Design that looks at models from Nature and History” explores how designers find inspiration from the past and from nature. Study of historic garments shows that materials were used intelligently by keeping future reconstruction in mind. This is proven by the story of Mrs. Guiney which dates back to 1954. She accepted £5 from the Museum of London for a gown that had been in her family for generations, however, if it wasn’t for the letters that accompanied the dress, it never would have been revealed that the dress actually belonged to Queen Charlotte. The material evidence suggested that the gown had been carefully reconstructed twice to suit the fashion of the day for the women who went on to wear it. The final reconstruction is a fashionable day-dress from the 1980’s.
Similarly, scientists have developed a keen interest in “Synthetic Biology.” This is when plants are genetically controlled to produce specific functions, such as producing yellow, purple or even blue apples in the future. Experiments are also being carried out to see if nature can be genetically altered to manufacture textiles, e.g. lace roots from a tree.
Personally, I think its important to carry the intelligent decisions made in the past in order to make a difference in the future, thus my interest in this particular TED. As a designer I want to be able to learn how to best utilise the information that I will find during my present studies and past research and blend them together to create a better environment for the public.
Also known as a “hook and loop” fastener, Velcro is made up of two prominent components, on two separate strips of nylon: the first component features tiny hooks while the second has smaller, “hairier” loops. These nylon strips are sewn or attached to opposing surfaces and when pressed together, the hooks catch in the loops, binding them together temporarily. When they are pulled apart, the strips make a distinctive ripping sound.
The hook and loop fastener came into realisation in an interesting way. Swiss engineer George de Mestral conceived the idea in 1941 while he was returning from a hunting trip in the Alps with his dog. He noticed that burrs (seeds) of burdock kept sticking to his clothes and his dogs fur. After close examination he noticed that the “hooks” on the seeds surface latched onto anything with loops, e.g. hair, fur and clothing. He saw the possibility of creating a way to bind two surfaces together temporarily, if he could figure out how to replicate the hooks and loops.
After successfully creating the fastener, de Mestral gave his product the name “Velcro” which is a combination of the two French words velour (velvet) and crotchet (hook). His company also goes by this name and remains as popular as ever to this date.
Velcro fasteners are used wherever there is a need to fasten a surface with a temporary bond. It replaces the use of buttons and zips on clothing, and on shoes for children who have not yet learnt to tie shoelaces. They are especially used in adaptive clothing made for individuals who find it difficult to dress themselves in clothing that utilises buttons and zippers.
Other than clothing, Velcro is used to secure backpacks and notebooks. It is used in the home to hold carpets in place, pleating draperies and attaching upholstery. A major user of the hook and loop fastener is NASA who equip each space shuttle with ten thousand inches of a special fastener made of Teflon loops, polyester hooks and glass backing. The fastener is used from the astronauts’ suits – including inside helmets where it is used as a nose scratcher – to holding equipment in place temporarily.
Velcro isn’t just used for clothing and other commercial uses, it can also be used for creative DIY’s such as hanging items on your walls without the fear of damaging them, or to keep your belongings organised in the boot of your car with their STAYHOLD range. Visit their solutions page here for more inspiration.
Velcro fasteners, as I have discovered, have many practical uses and have played a major part in providing ease both commercially and in our personal lives. Like many other fasteners, Velcro is low maintenance; cleaning it occasionally and using it carefully will take it a long way.
Tedresearch.net. (2018). 6 – Design that Looks at Models from Nature & History « Textiles Environment Design. [online] Available at: http://www.tedresearch.net/6-look-back-look-forward/
Polimekanos, h. (2018). Matilda Aspinall: Design That Looks at Models From History and Nature ← Research & Writing ← Textile Toolbox. [online] Textiletoolbox.com. Available at: http://www.textiletoolbox.com/research-writing/design-look-models-history-and-nature/
Griffiths, A. (2018). Genetically-engineered plants by Carole Collet produce food and lace. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2013/11/30/genetically-engineered-plants-that-produce-edible-textiles-by-carole-collet/
En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Velcro. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velcro
En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Hook and loop fastener. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook_and_loop_fastener
United Kingdom. (2018). Velcro Companies | VELCRO® Brand Hook and Loop Fasteners. [online] Available at: https://www.velcro.co.uk/
Home, I. (2018). Home Organisation Solutions | VELCRO® Companies. [online] United Kingdom. Available at: https://www.velcro.co.uk/solutions/in-the-home/