STYLE

Wearable art: Label lets users transform personal images into custom clothing

03/11/2013 02:17 EDT | Updated 05/11/2013 05:12 EDT
As she worked on crafting a nature-inspired piece last summer, Vancouver-based artist Anne Gudrun suddenly found herself with fashion on the mind.

"I just had this insight of `I want to wear my art,'" she recalled.

"I was doing some research online just looking for a place that could actually transfer my art onto fabric — but not in a small pattern. I wanted to have it like you're wearing the painting."

Gudrun initially had trouble finding the right resource to help realize her vision of transposing her artwork into custom clothing — until she discovered Constrvct.

The U.S.-based crowd-sourced label allows users to create their own original fashion designs online with a few clicks of the mouse.

The process involves using a 3-D design interface which draws on techniques used in animation and architecture. Cutting patterns for fabric are exported from the 3-D model, a contrast from traditional pattern-making, which is done flat.

The user-generated fashion concept elicited a strong response on online funding platform Kickstarter, exceeding its $10,000 goal with pledges from more than 250 backers.

Constrvct users don't need to worry about creating a custom sketch or being up to speed on the intricacies of design. All that's required is uploading an iPhone-quality image to the website. Constrvct users can then have a 3-D preview of how their garment will appear prior to placing their order.

"We saw great advantages in doing things from the perspective of 3-D," Constrvct co-founder Jenna Fizel said in a phone interview from Boston.

"People are three-dimensional, and in this day and age, it's a little silly that everything's still drawn on paper. And our other motivation was to have the garments that you wear be more responsive to your actual body shape.

"So we came up with a 3D ...system and design tool that let's anybody log into our website, upload a photo and make a dress or a variety of other garments that fit just to them."

Constrvct co-founder Mary Huang said they source their fabric within the U.S. and the garments are sewn in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she's based. The prices start from US$125 for shirts and US$199 for dresses.

Huang said the duo's shared love of fashion design led them to want to combine all of their various influences into the Constrvct concept — including the chance to team up with other artists.

"That's kind of the fun part, to have kind of an open collaboration in a way. But we get some really beautiful designs that people make, and that was really beautiful to see."

Custom designs by Gudrun and other users are showcased on the Constrvct site, with creations encompassing everything from flowers to forests and cityscapes in its expansive range of bold, graphic imagery.

The label will soon launch its artists and designers program, allowing individuals to sell their designs on Constrvct and earn a royalty on all orders.

"We didn't originally plan to do that...but it's the first thing people ask: `Hey, can I let other people buy my designs?'" said Huang.

"That's good to see because that's going to make this idea spread a lot faster, and we're really pro-enabling people to share their creativity.... And there's just been some beautiful work."

Gudrun said she sees the concept as an innovative way to bring art to people in a new form.

"I think it's important that people can have that empowerment themselves to create what they want. You don't have to go to someone else to create something," she said. "There's so many opportunities and ideas waiting to be born that didn't exist before."

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On the web:

Constrvct: www.constrvct.com

Contrvct designs by Anne Gudrun: http://constrvct.com/users/annegudrun

Anne Gudrun: http://annegudrun.com

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