Kathy McGee is a 3D designer based in London, with a background from the Royal College of Art in Menswear design. Her interest in fashion-tech was triggered by the introduction of a 3D design software within her studies, intriguing her to explore the possibilities of implementing the tool into her practice. Besides using a pencil and paper, the 3D tools have enabled her to build the garment directly onto the body by taking into account the differences of body shapes and how its features can be enhanced. She sees bespoke and modular design as a few of the future areas she can take her work towards to.
In the beginning stages of learning the 3D tool and the design process, Kathy describes how it took making roughly 5-6 pieces before she began to work as intuitively in the software as she might be when using traditional methods. On the other hand, it taught her that using resilience and patience, as it became clear that it was going to be a constant learning process requiring new skills. As she has been working like this for 3-4 years, there is still much to explore, such as coding and parametric design.
Besides teaching at the University of the Arts London, Kathy focuses on a collaborative project Digitoile that investigates the role of digital technologies in the design and fabrication. As the body is used as inspiration through 3D scanning, the project focuses on building out from it to create technically complicated pieces with less waste and more efficiency.
Through increased interaction between the fashion designer and customer, the process creates added value for the customer through a memorable process. Her current work is a collaboration with a London-based menswear label Per Gotesson season on a series of products for the second season.
Left: a jacket from the collaboration with Per Gotesson and a 3D drawing from the design process. Images: Per Gotesson / Kathy McGee
Since the beginning, Kathy has faced difficulties related to the lack of time and resources to fully develop the idea, which she explains is a common problem for many designers. While the lack of resources can create barriers to working with such tools and processes, she has learned that the design process has the capacity to evolve through learning new skills and unlocking levels of creativity that the designer might not be aware of. Furthermore, the experience of working with 3D software has opened her mind to the possibilities of design working alongside technology.
In terms of future steps, Kathy expresses interest in more collaborations, based on her experience of working with Per Gotesson. Furthermore, she emphasises the importance of continuing work on developing techniques and methods for introducing these digital skills into the curriculum to ensure that the future graduates are equipped with relevant skills to work in the fashion-tech field.
See more of Kathy's work on her website and the following video.