Lindsay Hanson is a Fashion and Materials Designer focused on the use of metamaterials and 2D materials for textiles applications. She has co-authored a new online course in collaboration with Nobel Laureate Sir Kostya Novoselov on frontier materials, big data and wearable technology. We spoke with Lindsay about her experience at PUZZLE X and how the fashion industry can innovate itself with materials deep tech.
What sparked your interest in materials deep tech?
After studying fashion design in Paris, I came to the realisation that innovation comes from the material as opposed to the overall silhouette. So, in order to invent or enhance new products, I started looking into frontier materials.
How do you think frontier materials can innovate the fashion industry?
We see this already with advanced polymer blends for sportswear. But all fibre blends have their limits on their overall functionality. With frontier materials, we can extend the life of traditional fibre blends as well as fabricate entirely new blends in order to achieve a better performing garment that will not only be more durable but will also have a positive impact on the environment.
What frontier materials are you working with that excite you the most?
Graphene and liquid crystals!
How are you incorporating frontier materials into wearable fashion?
I am currently collaborating with a few universities to work on some very small, experimental projects. The projects are mainly based on wearables involving graphene and liquid crystals with the aim of improving the overall functionality of the wearable. This includes fewer bulk and/or hard sensors that are typically found in e-textiles or other wearable technology at the moment.
Could you tell us more about your new online frontier materials, big data and wearables course?
Yes, the course by Prof. Kostya Novoselov and I was developed specifically to help anyone coming from a non-scientific background who had an interest or wanted to learn more about novel materials. This could include university students, startups, product developers etc. wanting a chance to better understand the material properties and applications of wearable technologies. The course is broken down into units and is designed to be either taken fully on its own, at the pace of the individual or adapted by course leaders/lectures into an existing design curriculum at any design university.
Could you tell us about the masterclass you led at PUZZLE X?
Yes, this was a really fun masterclass hosted by Prof. Kostya Novoselov and myself. The masterclass examined the printing processes of different 2D materials like graphene and MXenes and how they would be applied to traditional textiles, such as cotton. The masterclass was divided into two sections, 1) design applications and 2) ink/printing processes with a bit of time in the end for questions.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for fashion designers to use frontier materials in their new products?
Two main challenges:
1) Fashion designers will need a better understanding of their material properties so that they can then push boundaries and really innovate and collaborate with the right people. This is exactly what the course will help them achieve.
2) Scale. Currently, these materials are hard to get out of the lab, on top of this, traditional manufacturers will not necessarily know how to work with enhanced textiles. These issues of course can be resolved but it will be challenging to do so.
How do you think PUZZLE X can be leveraged to encourage designers to use frontier materials?
I think workshops help a lot and can almost act as an introduction to frontier materials. Workshops are a good way for designers to learn more and ask questions that can better help them within their own practice. I think a big gap in this area is the complete lack of a platform where designers can collaborate with scientists easier and vice versa. PUZZLE X can be used as a tool to better match collaborators coming from different fields altogether.