Fashion brand & Other Stories has launched its annual artist Co-Lab collection, and this year, it’s created by Pentagram partner and information designer Giorgia Lupi. Known for her artful data visualisations and human-centric approach, Lupi’s designs focus on three pioneering women in science – mathematician Ada Lovelace, environmentalist Rachel Carson and astronaut Mae Jemison – translating their achievements and life stories into illustrated patterns.
The idea behind the collection sprung from Lupi’s want to focus on real women whose professional achievements are inspiring and empowering. “The feminine component is present, but it’s not the primary lens we use for these narratives,” she explains. Settling on Lovelace, Jemison and Carson, each pioneers in male-dominated fields, Lupi and her team then began the process of gathering data on the women, drawing on each of their bodies of work and most significant accomplishments, as well as their personal lives. Then, Lupi defined “three different strategies to break down and analyse their work and achievements, actively crafting my datasets, as I usually do”.
Simultaneously, the team was starting to envision what the collection might look like, and Lupi began to sketch patterns determined by the data, “imagining how these stories could be enjoyable to wear!” she adds on the designs. This turned out three primary patterns, one for each woman, adapted to fit each item depending on its design.
Each pattern is distinctively representative of each woman, Lupi tells us: “For each of them, I looked for inspiration in visuals that could speak to the very nature of the data I was working with.”
Ada Lovelace is considered to be the first computer programmer, a ground-breaker in computer science, and a mathematical genius. “Ada used her gift for mathematics to translate and write instructions, imagining how to program a machine to do complex calculations,” Lupi says. “Ada’s pattern is colourful, geometric and repetitive but with variations, serving as a metaphor for the mathematical structure of an algorithm.”
Rachel Carson, an activist and author of Silent Spring, is considered to be the first contributor to literature from a conservationist perspective. “Carson’s work showed us how everything we do affects the world we live in,” says Lupi. “The dataset I created reflects this holistic approach. The pattern is built to reveal the interconnected structure and contents of her book – represented by the different techniques on the garment, such as embroidery and colour codes. The motif is inspired by organic shapes, almost marine, evoking her work on the environment.”
NASA astronaut Mae Jemison was the first woman of colour in space. “[Mae’s] perseverance established her in many different fields, from medicine to international aid, contemporary dance to environmental science and sustainability, but the role I found most fascinating and wanted to focus on for this collection is astronaut. The pattern designs are a visualisation of the orbits and the experiments she performed and a testament of her memory from her journey into space.”
The collection exemplifies Lupi’s modus operandi to give data a human touch, and integrate it into our daily lives in an unexpected way. “I have always wanted to bring data to life in physical forms, in products people could use and even wear,” she says.
Shop the full collection here.