Adobe x Christian Cowan: Unveiling the future of fashion with Project Primrose
Adobe MAX 2023 was a landmark event, but there was one moment that captivated the world: the reveal of the Adobe Primrose dress, a groundbreaking Adobe Sneak. The Primrose dress uses laser-cut polymer dispersed liquid crystal “petals” that can electronically change patterns multiple times per second. Under each petal is an underlay with a flexible printed circuit board, allowing the petals to alternate and shift between shades of silver and ivory. This pivotal moment wasn’t just a showcase of innovative technology; it sparked a creative fire. Designers, artists, and brands from around the world were instantly drawn to the allure of the Primrose dress and the notion of sustainability and technology behind it, and were eager to explore this new horizon in fashion and tech.
Among these visionaries was fashion designer Christian Cowan. Known for embracing new ways of design, mediums and collaboration, Cowan is responsible for dressing celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Heidi Klum, Lil Nas X, Nicki Minaj, Naomi Campbell, and Miley Cyrus. Christian found immediate inspiration in the potential of Primrose petals. This fascination quickly evolved into a unique collaboration, leading the Adobe Research team to embark on a creative journey to Cowan’s NYC studio. There in SoHo, tech met couture in a fusion of innovation and style, culminating in the creation of a breathtaking showstopping dress.
Debuting as the main look of the collection revealed at Christian Cowan’s 2024 Fall/Winter New York City Fashion Week runway show, this unique piece isn’t just a garment but a truly dynamic canvas. Emblazoned with 360 degrees of Primrose petals cut into Cowan’s iconic stars, it mesmerized the audience, from the front row to the streamers at home. With each step, the pattern shifted and animated the avant-garde look, bringing the dress to life.
"The true technological craftsmanship that has gone into this piece is mind boggling. And the simplicity you are left with is so seamless, you’d never know the layers upon layers of boning, satin, cable work, mother boards, transmitters and polymers scales that are all at play. The best part about the job I have is to be able to dream, and then make those dreams a reality, this was exactly that."
Powered by Adobe: Redesigning the fabric of fashion
Project Primrose is more than a technological marvel; it’s a key that unlocks boundless possibilities in fashion design. Traditional clothing, once static, can now be transformed into dynamic expressions of art and technology. With Primrose, designers are empowered to dream bigger, envisioning garments that evolve and interact with their environment through time. The Adobe x Christian Cowan dress exemplifies this vision, merging fabric and technology into a living, breathing work of art.
Behind this awe-inspiring creation were Adobe's own tools, integral at every stage of the design process. Adobe Illustrator laid the groundwork, mapping out the flexible printed circuit boards and sketching the patterns. Adobe After Effects breathed life into the dress, animating it with captivating motion graphics. This project underscores how Adobe's suite of products isn't just about creating art; it's about pioneering new realms of possibility.
Powering Project Primrose
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Redefining the fabric of fashion
Project Primrose is more than a technological marvel; it's a key that unlocks boundless possibilities in fashion design. Traditional clothing, once static, can now be transformed into dynamic expressions of art and technology. With Primrose, designers are empowered to dream bigger, envisioning garments that evolve and interact with their environment. The Adobe x Christian Cowan dress exemplifies this vision, merging fabric and technology into a living, breathing work of art.
From prototype to practical use-case in just 2 months
At Adobe MAX, the Adobe Research team presented a glimpse of the future with a prototype dress, aptly named Project Primrose. Today, at NYC Fashion Week, Christian Cowan and the Adobe Research Team achieved the remarkable: the Adobe x Christian Cowan Dress Powered by Primrose Technology, the first-ever complete garment of its kind. In two months, the dress went from concept to a wearable, electronically reconfigurable garment that raises the bar on the potential for sustainability and customization in fashion giving designers the ability to create multiple iterations of a singular garment and a deeper level of collaboration between designer and customer when it comes to custom designs.
Creativity and technology are becoming increasingly intertwined. Paris Fashion Week 2021 saw an Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator custom designed haute couture garment walk the runway, while 3D design within the fashion industry is leading to shorter product creation cycles, cost savings, and increased sustainability with digital workflows, with Adobe Substance tools used to create realistic 3D visuals and prototypes.
Tonight, Adobe and Christian Cowan's collaboration revealed more than just a fashion statement. This is a glimpse of a path forward to a future where designers and creatives can reimagine the limits of what's possible. Stay tuned to Adobe's channels for more on how we're shaping the future of creativity and design.