Design meets research

The ’Re-FREAM’ project brings researchers and artists together.
The ’Re-FREAM’ project brings researchers and artists together.

In the planned project "Re-FREAM" designers develop new and innovative fashion concepts in cooperation with researchers from all over Europe and completely rethink processes, traditions, production methods as well as design and functionality of clothing. Empa is also involved as a research partner.

"We live in the most exciting era of mankind", write the initiators of the "Re-FREAM" project on their website. Never before has it been so easy to turn ideas into reality with the help of technological achievements. The Horizon 2020 project aims to do just that: to bring artists’ ideas and projects together with excellent research and turn them into new groundbreaking products. The focus lies on fashion - be it sustainable production processes, new textile technologies or portable digitally equipped gadgets. Designers have the opportunity to submit their ideas in the current "Call for Projects". If they are chosen as part of re-FREAM, they can select from a pool of scientific partners those who are able to best help them realize their plans.

Simulating textiles instead of wearing them

One of the research partners is the Empa lab Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles in St. Gallen. How does the material behave on human skin? How does it react to heat and wind? How does the material flow? But also questions about wearing comfort can be answered, because in the end all technological achievements are useless if the product lies uncomfortably on the skin. Empa researchers can use their technology to clarify such issues in advance and provide designers with information on how the product can be optimized. And this even before the first prototype is built.

Empa researcher Agnes Psikuta, who has already used the thermal devices and simulations in several projects, is in charge of the project. Among other things, the foundations for the innovative HYDRO_BOT ski jacket by Kjus were laid at Empa. "We can show the designers how their product interacts with the human body even before it is physically available to us," explains Psikuta. Above all, tests on humans are always time-consuming and costly. Computer simulations are therefore a good way to gain initial insights before the next step has to be taken.

Expertise spread throughout Europe

The individual research projects are designed for four years; a total of 21 places will be awarded to designers, the first half at the end of spring 2019, the second call in nine months. The selected projects will be divided among a total of 12 research partners in a total of three "hubs" in Berlin, Linz and Valencia - Empa will be involved with its technologies in all three hubs and thus have the opportunity to support several project teams.