Fashion Akademiet Copenhagen is one of five European design schools participating in Couture in Orbit, assigned the theme of ‘technology demonstration’. Lis Fornæs, who has been overseeing the school for the last 16 years, gives an overview of the school’s role in the event.
Students take a two-year course here, and it’s the second-year students who are making designs for Couture in Orbit. Our students are learning traditional ways of making clothes, with pattern making in a lot of different materials, from leather to silk – and making a lot of different designs in the process.
The aim is to ensure everyone has all the skills needed to get a job afterwards. Of our 2014 students, more than 80% have ended up with relevant employment.
In the second year the standard is to work with a firm and put on a project with them. So we are working with ESA in the same kind of way, with one teacher working on the materials side and finding out about relevant technology and the other working with students on their designs.
It’s an interesting combination because we are coming from this fine arts fashion background, so the technological aspect is something new. Our students have produced nine projects for Couture in Orbit, and we are selecting three of these nine to go to London. All of them are good – it’s definitively proved a creatively stimulating effort.
Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen briefly visited and talked to the students, so we’ve taken a lot of inspiration from that. A lot of questions were asked about how it was to stay up there in space, and various practical queries, like the design of his standard orbital clothing and issues like recycling the water needed to stay alive and comfortable in orbit.
You’ll have to wait and see exactly what is the outcome, but we’re working with integrating different functionalities, including sensors and airbags, and even water filtering. In a few instances, where the technology wasn’t available, students have gone to work themselves – but all will be revealed on 25 May…