High Tech Fashion and Style
More Career Connections
Fashion designer Jhane Barnes makes
use of mathematical algorithms and computer technology
in creating her beautiful, award winning men's wear
collection. The story begins in the early 1970s, when
Jhane, a junior in high school, started making clothes
for herself and her friends. Jhane's creations were
so professional that they even impressed the principal,
who asked the young designer to create outfits for the
school's rock band. Jhane, who had been playing the
drums for years, knew a thing or two about rock music
and proceeded to make appropriately glam get-ups for
her friends in the band.
it was clear to everybody that her future lay in the
field of design, Jhane herself dreamed of studying Astrophysics.
She shared this desire with her trigonometry teacher,
but was told that she would never be a truly great scientist,
despite her obvious talent in mathematics. Jhane was
crushed, but after much senior-year soul-searching,
she finally decided to go to New York and study at the
Fashion Institute of Technology.
clothing design begins at Jhane's digital drawing board
on her Power Mac. Working within a custom-drawing program
with a digital pen and tablet, Jhane lays down a pattern
concept. She then sends the concept to Bill Jones and
Dana Cartwright, the two mathematicians on her staff.
Jhane gives Bill and Dana a clear idea of her artistic
vision and they translate her idea into mathematical
artwork comprised of layer upon layer of paint, Jhane's
patterns are built over time using complex software
programs and Jhane's highly attuned impulses. Jhane
seamlessly works between twenty different programs,
taking inspiration from unique program tools that enhance
or alter her original idea. "I'll take an element and
go into another program and start doing what any artist
does, which is to tweak and refine." Of course, Jhane
knows that chance plays a role in any creative process,
and welcomes it into her designs. "Sometimes you click
the mouse and have no idea what's going to happen next,"
she says of some of the more experimental programs she
uses. "And the great thing is, sometimes Bill and Dana
have no idea, either!"
designs are usually completed in WeaveMaker, a mill-ready
software program, and sent to mills in New England,
Japan, and Italy to be woven on automated Dobby or Jacquard looms. Yarn colors chosen from the computer's palette
must be checked against color books, which show how
certain hues will actually look when woven in cotton
or silk. If a pattern calls for a new combination of
yarns, one of Jhane's seven designers weaves a sample
swatch on three miniature Dobbies in the back of the
studio to determine the fabric's spring and resilience.
samples of the finished fabric return to the studio,
Jhane collaborates with partner and master tailor Erasmo
"Eddie" DiRusso to design the collection-from socks
to sportswear, ties to tailored clothing. Together they
create polished products from raw material. Finally,
when the collection is completed, samples are brought
to Jhane's showroom on 57th Street and presented to
retail buyers from around the world who decide what
will be sold in their respective stores.