Fashion designs

Robot scrolls through St. Clair students’ fashion designs on the runway

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Organize a fashion show without makeup, hairstyle and even models?

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No problem.

Elaine Chatwood, Coordinator of the Fashion Design Program at St. Clair College, faced several challenges in her efforts to organize an end-of-year fashion show for graduates.

Restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Chatwood from hosting the annual event last spring, but she was determined not to let it happen again.

“I felt so bad for the students last year, they work so hard.” Chatwood said. “This show is such a big part of their portfolios.”

I really wanted movement on stage

So Chatwood began to think about ways to host a fashion show under all health and safety restrictions. She initially considered using forms for clothing coming down a factory assembly line and even considered tyrolating the forms from point to point.

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Then she saw a TV commercial for these disc-shaped robotic vacuum cleaners and asked her colleague Al Douglas from the robotics program if anything could be adapted for the task.

St. Clair College cameraman Mike Poirier is filming the virtual workshop fashion show at the school on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Due to pandemic restrictions, a robot was used to showcase the designs of the children. graduate students.
St. Clair College cameraman Mike Poirier is filming the virtual workshop fashion show at the school on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Due to pandemic restrictions, a robot was used to showcase the designs of the children. graduate students. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Douglas suggested the college’s recently purchased Autonomous Guided Vehicle (AGV) for research projects. It was sturdy enough to safely move industrial clothing forms that would display a student’s drawing.

It all came together inside the Student Life Center on Tuesday where 65 pieces of clothing rolled down the track atop the AGV as video cameras rolled.

Douglas guided the AGV by remote control, taking the shape of the robe down the length of the track where he turned left then right, made a full rotation and headed back.

“It looks pretty good,” Douglas said of the robotic replacement.

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Chatwood was delighted to offer the students the chance to show off their talents. She even showcased 13 designs from the 2020 class to go with 2021 graduates and the top 10 applications from freshman design students.

Getting the clothes moving instead of just being photographed was crucial, Chatwood said.
“I really wanted movement on stage,” she said. “You have to see how the clothes drape and move and you have to see the front and back. “

Cindy Nguyen, left, and Maddie Bevacqua, fashion design students at St. Clair College, put the finishing touches on the dresses during the school's virtual studio fashion show on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Due to pandemic restrictions, a robot was used to showcase the creations.  graduate students.
Cindy Nguyen, left, and Maddie Bevacqua, fashion design students at St. Clair College, put the finishing touches on the dresses during the school’s virtual studio fashion show on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Due to pandemic restrictions, a robot was used to showcase the creations. graduate students. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Pre-COVID, the fashion show would feature a live audience and judges to establish an overall winning design.

Chatwood and her team will edit the video shot on Tuesday and send it to several designers for judging so that a winner can be declared on June 25 when the fashion show airs at 8 p.m. on the link at stclaircollege.ca /workshop.

“There may never have been a perfect example of St. Clair’s role as a college of applied arts and technology,” President Patti France said in a statement. “Few programs are as creative and artistic as fashion design, and not as technologically advanced as robotics, and here we have both exhibited simultaneously. I look forward to this ingenious exhibition and hope the public will enjoy it too.

mcaton@postmedia.com

twitter.com/winstarcaton

The St. Clair College Fashion Design Technicians Virtual Workshop Fashion Show is presented at the school on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Due to pandemic restrictions, a robot was used to showcase the designs graduate students.
The St. Clair College Fashion Design Technicians Virtual Workshop Fashion Show is presented at the school on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Due to pandemic restrictions, a robot was used to showcase the designs graduate students. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star
Maddie Bevacqua, left, a fashion design engineering student at St. Clair College, and instructor Lori Moore place a mannequin on a robot during the School's Virtual Workshop fashion show on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic, a robot was used to present drawings to graduate students.
Maddie Bevacqua, left, a fashion design engineering student at St. Clair College, and instructor Lori Moore place a mannequin on a robot during the School’s Virtual Workshop fashion show on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic, a robot was used to present drawings to graduate students. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

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