“Interactive wear”, beyond the traditional meaning of the phrase; Project DNA, was Catherine Wales’ ingenious response to a rapidly changing planet and human race. A beautiful collaboration of technology, artistic expression, and thoughtful engineering would bring the truth of authenticity back to the world and its wearers.
By the time she was a Master’s student at the London College of Fashion, Catherine had already proven herself in the industry as an elite pattern cutter and luxury fashion designer. But she wanted more. She wanted to push the boundaries and reset societal expectations. So, she conceptualized a line of fully customizable, tech tailored, garment scaffolding that would empower people to sculpt their daily intentions, beliefs, and mood. From starting as a college thesis, Project DNA hatched and grew into a futuristic movement perfectly plated for the current times.
Using 3D printing technology, she was able to craft a collection of recyclable spheres and sockets mimicking those of the human chromosome. Her “fashion Legos” came to life with the hope to re-instill playful imagination while maintaining functionality. Project DNA’s initial product line would include fully modifiable staples made up of a scaffolded corset, a stunning full-feather shoulder piece, and transformative headwear, all of which were designed for fabrics to drape over, per an individual's concept of self. Project DNA also boasted a breathtaking line of masks that could be embellished with optional accessories to symbolically show areas of focus, growth, and power. The structural pieces made with the “fashion Legos” could be adapted to shrink or expand one’s figure (or to simply state abstraction) so that the wearer would fully decide the body type they chose to represent that day.
Project DNA’s playful modality wasn’t the only core value Catherine was striving to achieve through this visual stimulation of individualized expression; her concern for sustainability within the fashion industry was something that’d needed her attention - as it needs all of ours. Both designer and designee would be able to feel their positive impact radiate back into nature when recognizing all the efforts made to eliminate material waste through tailored sizing, the recyclability of material choice, and the wearer’s ability to own less by having more versatility.
Needless to say, Project DNA earned Catherine her Master’s Degree. Though it’s still just a concept, many of its core elements inspired and continue to live on in Atelier Volant. As we live our lives, we discover our passions along with our talents. It’s when you combine these two that we find purpose. And what’s more fulfilling than sharing that fire inside; whether it be through voice, movement, or simply how and what you wear.