Cellular Automata-Based Generative Design of Pied-de-poule Patterns using Emergent Behavior: Case Study of how Fashion Pieces can Help to Understand Modern Complexity
Loe M.G. Feijs, Marina J. Toeters


Complex behavior arises from a multitude of interacting agents and even if the rules of the agents seem of simple design, the behavior of a crowd of agents can be overwhelmingly complex. The three cornerstones of complexity theory are emergence, transition and resilience. We argue that the fashion system is an example of a complex adaptive system. We focus on a particular type of fashion pattern known as Pied-de-poule (houndstooth) and use it as an inspiration to design cellular automata that generate new patterns (motifs). Cellular automata are tools in complexity theory, the science which aims at understanding complexity. The newly generated patterns feature emergence, transition and resilience, although they are only based on the simplest automaton that generates the simplest Pied-de-poule. These patterns are woven and the resulting innovative fabrics are used to design and construct a mini-collection of contemporary fashion items. The fashion items are meant to be fashionable and illustrate a new and modern understanding of complexity. We claim that programming is a new craft which is essential for a range of emerging new aesthetic possibilities in design and for developing new product semantics. We describe how the coding process is integrated with the fashion design, with many iterations in the coding phase and multi-disciplinary cooperation in the overlapping weaving, design and construction phases.

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