NOT

Aug 12
Please click into the book to view at full screen. NOT Spring/Summer 15 ‘Doubling’ Collection.
notxcs:

Exclusive Interview | Dr Pachanga
Click through for an exclusive interview between Another Africa and Dr. Pachanga, a Johannesburg based vendor of 2nd hand clothing. Dr Pachanga takes us through his world of shopping from piles of western donations, extreme fashion and character-play, and how these are a part of his story. 
Jul 25

notxcs:

Exclusive Interview | Dr Pachanga

Click through for an exclusive interview between Another Africa and Dr. Pachanga, a Johannesburg based vendor of 2nd hand clothing. Dr Pachanga takes us through his world of shopping from piles of western donations, extreme fashion and character-play, and how these are a part of his story. 

notxcs:

Exclusive Interview | Dennis Chuene
Leading up to the New York exhibition, Another Africa introduces the project and collaborators with a new exclusive interview each week.
This week, click through to meet Dennis Chuene, the designer behind Vernac Bags who makes backpacks out of the ubiquitous China Bags.
Jul 25

notxcs:

Exclusive Interview | Dennis Chuene

Leading up to the New York exhibition, Another Africa introduces the project and collaborators with a new exclusive interview each week.

This week, click through to meet Dennis Chuene, the designer behind Vernac Bags who makes backpacks out of the ubiquitous China Bags.





Jul 15

ourrisd:

When experimental apparel designer Jenny Lai 10 AP discovered the bold styles of Smarteez, a South African DIY fashion collective from Johannesburg, she was immediately drawn to their creative process and especially intrigued by striking millinery by Floyd Manotana, who makes reed safari hats and wide-brimmed felted bowlers in his backyard studio.

“As part of the first post-apartheid generation, these young men are creating what looks to be the first distinctly South African street fashion,” Lai writes on her blog. “There is a rawness to the style – a careless appropriation of anything and everything – that struck me as totally fresh and exciting. Simply put, it was nothing like anything I was seeing in New York.”

For Lai it was clear that communicating with these stylish ingenues via email and Skype just wouldn’t cut it. So the designer contacted Chris Saunders, a photojournalist who has made a name for himself documenting the country’s fresh street ensembles, which can be described as equal parts grunge, punk and dandy. 

The two decided to start a cross-cultural collaborative project that would document Lai making avant-garde garments with noted South African designers such as Dennis Chuene and Macdonald MfoloThe final photographs and videos feature stunning visuals of hip hop dancer Manthe Ribane performing in the brilliant, one-of-a-kind clothing.

Much to their delight, the Manhattan gallery WALLPLAY has now promised to exhibit the results of their creative collaboration in August. To help offset the costs of the show, the artists have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $5,000.

We are so excited about the launch of the NOT x CS exclusive interview series by Another Africa. Another Africa is an amazing web platform of thoughtfully written editorials on art, culture, and design throughout Africa. They will be launching exclusive interviews with each collaborator for the following month, leading up to the New York exhibition!
Check out the first one- in conversation with Chris Saunders and Jenny Lai! 

http://www.anotherafrica.net/design/fashion/in-conversation-with-jenny-lai-chris-saunders-on-digitally-enabled-cross-cultural-creative-collaborations
Jul 11

We are so excited about the launch of the NOT x CS exclusive interview series by Another Africa. Another Africa is an amazing web platform of thoughtfully written editorials on art, culture, and design throughout Africa. They will be launching exclusive interviews with each collaborator for the following month, leading up to the New York exhibition!

Check out the first one- in conversation with Chris Saunders and Jenny Lai! 

http://www.anotherafrica.net/design/fashion/in-conversation-with-jenny-lai-chris-saunders-on-digitally-enabled-cross-cultural-creative-collaborations

notxcs:

Exhibition | Wallplay
Iterations of exhibition design in progress, 3d renderings, and more with exhibition designer Camila Morales. 

So excited!!
Jul 8

notxcs:

Exhibition | Wallplay

Iterations of exhibition design in progress, 3d renderings, and more with exhibition designer Camila Morales. 

So excited!!





Jul 7

Open Style Lab - Wearable solutions for people with disabilities

I was so pleased to have the opportunity to speak at MIT yesterday as a panelist for Open Style Lab. Open Style Lab is a 10-week innovation challenge that teams up occupational therapy, design, and engineering students with clients that have a specific disability. Together, they come up with a wearable solution to their client’s specific needs. 

The topic for yesterday’s discussion was “Aesthetics and Functionality,” and I was invited in regards to my work designing for performers. I thought it was an excellent and diverse balance to be on the panel next to interdisciplinary scholar Aimi Hamraie, artist and researcher/lecturer Sara Hendren and ABC certified prosthetist, Jason Rizzo

Aimi spoke about designing for the public space for people with disabilities, the concept of “universal design”, eugenics and the bell curve. Sara raised lots of interesting questions about technology and why we alienate some as being “assistive” when in reality we all use assistive technology. She spoke about the decision people make to either hide or be expressive with this technology and about creating technology objects that ask questions rather than answer them. Jason Rizzo did a show-and-tell of different types of prosthetic arms and legs and spoke about how he tailors these items to people’s lives, about client’s priorities and how they change. I shared slides of NOT’s designs for musicians and dancers, talked about the functional requirements I take into consideration for each, and how my aesthetic decisions are based on functional explorations.

I wanted to use this blog post as an opportunity to expand on a few of the topics raised which I found really interesting. 

1. Universal Design 

Universal design is a philosophy and design phenomenon meant to produce buildings, products, and environments that are accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities. The idea is that this “flexibility” should be built into the way we design from the beginning, instead of adding on or changing afterwards.

As mass production took hold from the industrial age on, the need arose to have designs that fulfilled the requirements of the majority of the population. Through statistics and the bell curve, we could determine that 25% - 75% of the population fall within certain parameters. An example of universal design would be the Ergonomic Chair and how you can adjust the height and tilt to suit you. Another example are curb cuts (when the sidewalk slopes towards the road), which we may take for granted now, but only began happening in the 1940s when society had to suddenly accommodate for so many disabled war veterans. 

However, the downside of the bell curve is that it’s inevitably difficult for those that fall before the 25% and after the 75%. For Aimi, for example, the ergonomic chair really isn’t so ergonomic. She feels incredibly uncomfortable in it and is exhausted after a day of squirming within it. And I’m sure many people can attest to the limitations of clothing sizes and how proportions scale, where the width of a skirt fits you around the hips but the waist doesn’t. 

Much of Sara and Aimi’s work asks why designs in the public or private space exclude people with disabilities when solutions can potentially benefit all users. Sara Hendren asked this question in her project “Slope:Intercept" where she created ramps that could be used by both skateboarders and wheelchair users. I enjoyed her project statement analyzing the physics of an inclined plane and how it has made a built world more accessible to more bodies and the things they carry throughout history.

Other contemporary examples: Having dealt with dyslexia, Will Mayo recognized that being able to HEAR the internet would make it more accessible to the widest demographic possible. This resulted in Spoken Layer, a website that hires professional voice actors to narrate the top news as soon as they come out. Another example of Universal Design: A watch for the visually impaired so that one can tell time by touch. This could be useful for many other types of people who may just want to check out the time discretely. 

Have you heard of cardboard carpentry? The Adaptive Design Association's mission is to ensure that children with disabilities can get the customized equipment they need to participate fully in their communities. They encourage using cardboard to build furniture and assistive devices not only because of the cost, but of these speed that this could be created and the flexibility and ease of the material. There are so many simple solutions that can make huge impacts and the fact is that that knowledge already lies in the users themselves. 

2. Modularity

Jason and I were in agreement with how custom our work was, being tailored to specific clients. However, there’s a wonderful flexibility that comes with modularity.

Here I was thinking about spacesuit design.. they started out as custom made garments for each astronaut, but now have suits made up of modular components so different length sleeves/legs can be attached to suit the astronaut. It cuts down significantly on costs.

The variety of Jason’s prosthetics range from looking anatomically like a leg (silicone leg mold, skin colored stocking over it) to being very anatomically unlike a human leg, but functioning really great while showing off the technology. He says that he can be much more flexible with the latter version, because pieces can be more modular and therefore more cost effective. For kids, this is great, because items can be extended  or switched out as they grow rapidly. Some people even want to switch out types of feet when they want to go rock climbing or when they want to go running. 

Unlike industrial products however, clothing seems to lack the ability to have modularity. Does anyone know of any examples I should be aware of? 

3. Marketing

How does one market assistive clothing or other assistive products? This was a contested topic. One of the OSL mentors, Maura Horton, is the founder of a company called Magna Ready that produces men’s dress shirts with hidden magnetic closures. She came up with this product when her husband had an early diagnosis of Parkinsons and could no longer button his shirts. She spoke about how when she researched the clothing options available for people like her husband, she was turned off by the imagery and presentation of these items. It wasn’t how she saw her husband. That’s why she prefers to market her items in a modern, clean, professional way. 

One of the panelists interjected that this type of “normalcy” marketing seems to suggest that there’s something wrong with being different or showing that you’re different, and of a particularly American strain of individualism/independence. She felt that the reluctance of asking for help or offering help divides people and resists the very qualities that make us a better society. I enjoyed this recommended video from Sara’s syllabus, it’s a long walk and talk around the streets of San Francisco and speaks about a few of these things

Of course, I was made to think about marketing for NOT and my own questions about it. How to be specific, yet how not to alienate. How to market a “spirit,” rather than set guidelines of race, gender, or age. 

Jun 29

notxcs:

Photoshoot & Video

Behind the Scenes | Macdonald Mfolo

Kids from Orange Farm gathered like wildfire around our model and dancer, Manthe Ribane.

As many of you know, NOT had the opportunity to do some amazing collaborations in South Africa earlier this year. 
After many months of planning, we are so excited to announce that the lower East Side global art campaign space, Wallplay, will be presenting the NOT x Chris Saunders exhibition this August!
Follow the project blog for behind-the-scenes stories and exhibition updates and we’ll see you there!!
notxcs.tumblr.com
Jun 25

As many of you know, NOT had the opportunity to do some amazing collaborations in South Africa earlier this year. 

After many months of planning, we are so excited to announce that the lower East Side global art campaign space, Wallplay, will be presenting the NOT x Chris Saunders exhibition this August!

Follow the project blog for behind-the-scenes stories and exhibition updates and we’ll see you there!!

notxcs.tumblr.com





Jun 18

#NOTONTHESTREETS

NOT is excited to launch a new fun, interactive project called #notonthestreets ! NOT’s clothing has always been about PERSONALITY, and now its coming to streets near you and onto the backs of unaware strangers, friends, and yourselves!

All you have to do is pick up one of these transparency sheets, hold it up against the street, and shoot!  Share the image on Instagram with the hashtag #notonthestreets and tag NOT by Jenny Lai on Facebook. All kinds of bizarre situations occur and friends you’ll meet! We want to see how NOT looks on the streets of Tokyo, Mexico City, Vienna, Thailand, or even Verona, Wisconsin. The more creative you get with it, the better. 

The first two participants from each country that email info@notaligne.com with their mailing address will receive a precious little 4x6” packet in the mail with four NOT transparencies. Each packet of garments will be completely unique.

That’s it! We can’t wait to see what you do with it.