The Manus x Machina exhibit was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan from May 5th – September 5th, 2016. It explored the changes in fashion design from the early 20th century to present day, focusing on the relationship between hand-made garments and those made by machines. The distinction between haute couture, garments that are designed to fit a singular model, and prêt-à-porter, garments that are mass-produced to fit a variety of body types, has faded from the traditional manmade vs. machine-made definition as technological developments thrive. Rather than presenting the practices as a dichotomy between man vs. machine, Manus x Machina celebrates how the collaboration of techniques has been advancing the future of fashion.


The traditional haute couture garments on display shared a glimpse into the cultural divide of manmade and machine-made garments from the early 20th century. During a time of fiscal turmoil, machines were known to be used for the mass-production of affordable clothing that was accessible to all classes. Only the high class could afford to commission haute couture garments, made to their unique measurements. It was a great luxury to have your garments carefully sewn together by the hands of a renowned designer, made to serve you best as an individual.

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Many of the garments on display from the mid to late 20th century showed an appreciation for machine-like structures, beginning to blur the lines of man vs. machine. Futuristic fashions and 3D-inspired designs embraced the contributions of technology to the growth and development of the fashion industry, as well as expressing a fascination with the recent rise of a digitized lifestyle. Machine involvement in fashion production has become accepted as a standard that allows for more efficient and precise construction methods. It also provided artists with new mediums to express otherworldly ideas.


Present day designs unveiled a fresh, new method of production — 3D printing. This innovative technology allows designers to create the most intricate pieces to date in an entirely hands-free environment. With precision that’s down to fractions of the millimeter, the 3D printer gives fashion designers the ability to bring to life incredible designs that are more exact in their measurements than the hand could ever achieve. With such powerful and advanced technology within reach, we can only imagine what this will mean for the future of the fashion industry.

Join The Underfashion Club next week for a discussion on the subject with expert Luis Velazquez, titled The Sexy Side of 3D Imaging. It takes place on Tuesday, September 13th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at The Cutting Room in Manhattan.

Register Here:

For more pictures of the Manus x Machina exhibit, check out our Facebook album:

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