2022 Hot New Things: Nayanathara K, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington

3 months ago by

Each summer DA profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. We welcome these talented emerging professionals to our industry, learn about their passions, final projects, developing creative confidence and ambitions for the future.

Today we speak with Nayanathara K, one of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s creative graduates. You can find out more about Aotearoa NZ creative study options by visiting our design schools page.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Nayanathara, a fresh graduate of the Master of Design Innovation at the Victoria University. I did my bachelor’s degree, specializing in fashion and textile design. I have worked with international sustainable brands as well as local couture bridal boutique (in Dubai) and in my own brand. During my studies, I won the best design and textile design award in 2012. My recent passionate study areas include Generative textiles utilizing creative AI for textile designing, Digital fabrication 3D/4D printing for couture fashion, sustainable and innovative practice. 

What did your graduating project focus on?
My master’s research was on investigating the design and creation of haute couture 3D printed garments using an eco-friendly, semi-liquid bio-composite material, developed for syringe printing with a robotic arm.

Why did you choose to study at Victoria?
The latest and innovative technology which is available at the Victoria University.  

What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?
I believe that, conducting a master’s degree level research would open new and innovative perspective for textile design. The most enjoyable phase began when I started grooving fabric, instead of buying from outside and how the digital technologies were adopted in generating clothes. 

Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?
Yes, there were quite a number of exciting discoveries. 
Prospective biomaterials were identified and an iterative process of testing different combinations of suitable growing mediums, fabric substrates, and fungal cultures were explored to assess the growth, material properties and design opportunities.

Mycelium from a native New Zealand fungus was selected and a series of 2D printed patterns were developed based on the Material Driven Design Method (MDD), to understand the relationship between digital placement, fabric substrate and mycelium growth.

Contraction of the flat fabric during the drying process allowed the authorship of undulating 3D fabric. Using a range of parametric software, strategies to create 3D forms to fit the body were developed through controlled shrinkage. 

A final series of 3D haute couture garments were co-created using the symbiotic relationship of digital control and natural processes. It is cross disciplinary between industrial design based on scientific methods and parametric tailoring through shrinkage.

What’s next for you?
Currently I am working as a research assistant at Victoria university. The next anticipated milestone of my career would be to conduct a PhD on textile design.

What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?
I moved to New Zealand just 9 days before the first lockdown due to COVID19. At the beginning it was challenging to get adjusted to a new country and a new study, without my family. However, during the lockdown period after the online Zoom classes, the university supported all the students and keep chatting and advising on such difficult instances. At the same time, I kept myself very busy to overcome the distress during that time. 

Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
The most favorite element in my portfolio is the AI generated textile collection. 
Reason being, the on-hand experience on the most significant advance in fabric- printing technology since the invention of silkscreen, digital textile printing that brings about a revolution in textile design.

Designers tend to seek for inspirations from previously unexplored sources, and as a result, a new visual language for surface design has started to evolve. 

This Textile Pattern Generator is a project, conducted to explore the potential use of artificial intelligence in generating textile patterns for high-end street wears.

What does your dream job look like?
A Digital Textile Designer

How can people get in touch or see more of your work?


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