At Adobe MAX held inside the San Diego Convention Center on Thursday, an unlikely, self-proclaimed tech-nerd took the stage to illustrate how the worlds of fashion and technology intersect. Designer Zac Posen spoke to more than 11,000 people at the annual conference, alongside director Quentin Tarantino, photographer Lynsey Addario and sculptor Janet Echelman.
Posen, known also for his role as a judge on “Project Runway,” most recently made headlines for creating new uniforms for 60,000 Delta Airlines employees, including the in-flight crew and the ticket agents.
“I was in my suit, and I needed to understand how much I could move,” Posen said of his job shadowing experience with Delta. “I had to see how sharp I could make at least the gentlemen look and test it.”
Designing for the skies isn’t the only way Posen seems to be pushing the boundaries of fashion. At this year’s Met Gala, he debuted a glowing dress on Claire Danes made entirely of fiber optic woven organza. Posen brought the dress with him to San Diego, as well.
“As the world is evolving into technology, you can’t fight it, you have to embrace it. They have to be symbiotic,” he said. “I think that understanding of creativity, of technology, all goes together. They don’t fight each other. They have to have that dialogue.”
The gown is made with 30 mini battery packs sewn into a thin organza lining, creating a glow-in-the-dark effect and providing the audience a moment of “fashiontainment,” as he calls it.
While the runway and the red carpet are embracing this experimental use of technology, Posen believes it’s already part of the average person’s life (and closet), as well.
“I think body scanning is starting to enter into the commercial market, and I think that will have the ability for customization. I think in the future you’ll be able to design your own clothing,” he said. “I think that there’s technology brought to other price points that you might not know exist. You have solar fabric that can create energy… and anti-perspirant socks.”
Posen’s intelligence for the right risk moments shows in the details, and his architectural approach to design is evident in both the light-up gown and the incoming Delta uniforms. “I think it’s very important as a creator to take some punches. When something is authentic, it should have real staying power. You have to trust, culturally and on a business side, invest in longevity.”
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