Tuesday, January 19, 2010

scarves and the designer - meet LOOMLAB's Jane Henry

by frédérik sisa

This week I’m pleased to bring you an interview with LOOMLAB founder Jane Henry. You’ll remember LOOMLAB from my write-up of Unique LA; this is the place to go for some beautiful scarves inspired by, and making full use of, technology. Jane’s background includes a stint design tennis apparel for Reebok and, here in LA, work at the fashion house of Tadashi Shoji & Associates. LOOMLAB is a labour of love, as the saying goes, and it shows in the creative scarf designs and ambitious projects.

And good news for us guys; Jane hasn’t forgotten about us. “The next lookbook featuring both EXP1 and EXP2 will include men and women rocking the neckwear,” she told me.

So, without further delay, here’s Jane:

What’s the design philosophy underlying your work with LOOMLAB?
Technology-inspired scarf design. LOOMLAB is a springboard for inventive design and experimentation with fashion.

At LOOMLAB, we build a story into each product. It could be a pictorial narrative, hidden details, messages to decipher or decode, or a scientific formula. I love the light-bulb moment of personal recognition or the discovery, when someone makes a connection with the scarf. Fashion is both emotional and artful – it is your unique and individual statement to the world. Our scarves support our need for personal self-expression.

Tactile qualities are also key to the design of our scarves: fit, shape, cocoon-like comfort, surface treatments and weaves, handpicked yarns and fabrications.

The name LOOMLAB came from the idea of combining technology and experimentation with fashion and textiles. This lead to our first foray into scarf design.

Additionally, experimental and/or unique collaborations are also formed in the lab. I love the premise behind Exquisite Corpse, a game started in the 1920’s by artists of the Surrealist movement. It’s these types of collective design experiments I would love to further develop.

How do you design and develop a new LOOMLAB scarf?

I start with a theme or idea that inspires me. Concept formation is always the most fun – for example I’m wrapping up the next collection: EXPERIMENT 2 “Ocean Transport”. I drew inspiration from Astrolabes, Fibonacci codes, Fractal Patterns, mood tides, stereographs, and Chitimacha basket weaves. Also new this season, will be a few new scarf shapes and printing with reflective inks.

LOOMLAB’s first collection [EXPERIMENT 1] was inspired by the interpretation of visual language. I focused on language that is not immediately thought of as ‘language’ such as Braille, QR coding, Binary Codes, circuit boards, EKG graphs.

There is definitely common thread woven into each collection: science and technology-inspired with a hi-tech color palette.

LOOMLAB also encourages and supports artistic collaboration. I am currently working with Amir Ali on our collaborative project: O3TSM.

I met Amir at an art event I organized for LOOMLAB called The Pixel Project. Amir had served 32 months of detention in a non-criminal immigration detention facility. Each day to preserve his sanity, he kept his mind busy by drawing. We are working on sharing his story and bringing his drawings to life via a scarf collection.

What will LOOMLAB look like in 2020?

Building on our current platform, LOOMLAB will be…
A Virtual Design Lab or Experimental Studio
A Platform for Future Creative Collaborations
A Local Hive for Creativity and Supporter of the local arts
A Support System for Original Endeavors
An Incubator for fabric, textile innovation
A Global Network of Artisan/Design Communities
A Leader in the Scarves

Eventually, I would love to build LOOMLAB by offering additional products, but for now, necessity is the mother of invention and scarves are the inventions of LOOMLAB.
Many thanks to Jane for taking the time to elaborate on her work - I look forward to EXPERIMENT 2, O3TSM, and all other future LOOMLAB endeavours. To see scarves from LOOMLAB’s current collection, visit the website at www.loomlab.com.

Note to readers: Tune in tomorrow! I have a surprise for you - a new feature here at The Fashionoclast.

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