PLEATS IN BETWEEN - Redefining Pleats Through Workshop and Making and Pleating Machine Prototype Development
Two years ago, I came to London with a solid idea that I wanted to make a piece of shape memorable fabric to exploit a three-dimensional cubic pleat pattern that I had created. However, my research journey has taken me to places I was not expecting and I have discovered more possibilities which have changed how I am thinking about my research theme.
I have shifted my focus away from producing physical objects, to think about what it means to double or multiple fold the cloth of a garment. What is a pleat? What is in a pleat? At first these questions were too abstract for me to answer. I was not sure whether I was ready to deal with such philosophical questions. Employing different research methods, including: workshop facilitation, pleating trials, making garments, and designing costumes, I have come to understand my position in the research spectrum and have gained more confidence in answering these questions.
Pleats use double or even triple the amount of fabric ‘necessary’ in a garment. In the times of material scarcity, pleats represented the heightened social status and wealth of the wearer. When asked, ‘What is a pleat?’, the first answer I gave was, ‘Luxury’. It was the only answer I could imagine. Later, I began to observe the space in the pleats, trying to connect the architectural concept of negative space with pleating. By pleating more and more fabric, I gradually understood that it is my time and labour that is in the pleat. Each pleat not only contains the excessive amount of fabric, but also the time and labour I have devoted to make them.
School of Design
Tsai-Chun Huang is a fashion designer with a costume design background. His PhD research based at Royal College of Art, London (Textile Design 2014–18) explores the spatial relationship between garments and the human body, focusing on the act of dressing.
Prior to his arrival in London, Tsai-Chun was a tutor attached to HAHA at ARMU Design Taipei where he taught preschoolers design through an architectural approach. In 2013, he received funding from the Taiwanese government to investigate traditional indigo dying techniques in China and the USA.
Tsai-Chun believes that the development of new materials will dramatically change fashion in the future. He is committed to researching fabric for inclusive design.
- BA Drama and Theatre, National Taiwan University, 2008; MA Institute of Fashion and Communication Design (Fashion Major), Shih-Chien University, 2011
- Technician, Ciment Pleating, London, 2016; Exhibition Organiser, Rui Xu Studio, London, 2015; Intern, Skin, New York, 2013; Wordrobe Manager, Lady Gaga Born This Way Ball, Taipei, 2012
- Elsewhere, Lower Gulbenkian Gallery, London, 2015; Geometric Obsession, Shi-Chien University, Taipei, 2011
- IFF International Perfume competition(Shortlist), UK, 2015