Deb Cumming

Deb Cumming

Senior lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga - The School of Design

Deb Cumming is a fashion designer, researcher and academic who has strong research interests in adaptive fashion design processes in a social context. She has specialised expertise in apparel design technical development, including exploration in alternative pattern and drape processes. Cumming teaches across undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

  • Expertise

    Apparel drape and pattern design, alternative design processes, Colonial New Zealand history of fashion and sport.

  • Research Highlights

    Nature, energy and movement for new apparel design (2016) D. M. Cumming, N. Weaver, in Nature Now  exhibition, CTANZ with Massey University and Te Papa Tongarewa,
    In this research, one-piece pattern design process and outcome is derived from the organic lines of nature, energy and movement of the body. The research practice aims to create apparel that enhances movement and strength in alignment with the natural and high performance action of the body. Curved garment balance lines draw the fluid design lines in pattern shaping and print, exposing this new pattern process as the design itself. The resulting design reinforces the ethos of apparel design and pattern being an integral practice. The digital print displays a series of static pulse points formed into rhythmic lines of movement. This was created using the balance lines of the drape process in synchronization with the dynamic body form in a one-piece pattern.

    oneP-active (2016) D. M. Cumming, N. Weaver, in ’The End of Fashion' exhibition, Massey University Wellington,
    Digitization is rapidly impacting on traditional modes of fashion design creation. With developing use of fashion software avatars to simulate pattern designs, there are perceptual and technical shifts occurring with alternative developments in pattern and garment methodologies radically altering current methods practiced in the fashion industry. The predominant 2D processes of flat pattern cutting with corresponding front and back pattern blocks derived from a set of measures based on vertical and horizontal axis is shifting to spherical 3D views of virtual bodies and garment pattern design. However digitization software tools are still yet to acquire the nuanced translation of shaping manipulations and fabric behaviors on the live body. The designs in this exhibit expose the skilled craft of draping on the dynamic body, highlighting curved balance lines in synchronization with fabric grain-lines and performance. The one-piece pattern shapes created to wrap the moving body inform new applications for digital pattern design developments, production with reduced manufacturing, and can provide uninterrupted surfaces with print and smart textile injection. This design work displays an alternative method of design development resulting in a one-piece pattern shape, which views the dynamic body and fabric behavior as an implicit and integral practice.

    oneP- wings (2014) D. M. Cumming, N. Weaver, Southwark Cathedral London
    This exhibition piece is a one-piece apparel design, which looks to the future in applications of transformative design. This design was selected by the curator of the Campaign for Wool Global Wool Interiors Collection as a signature piece for public exhibition held in Southwark Cathedral London 5-12 October 2014. OneP-wings was developed to enable a full-scale transitional wall panel and garment design. Interior design extends to apparel design with wool laser cut patterning for functionality and visual intrigue. A one-piece apparel pattern derived from pattern drape and digital processes is embedded into the panel design and transforms to a 3-D garment with elements of fit, form and drape when worn without further construction. The garment then returns to the wall under the wool plug as an absent wardrobe after wear. The pattern piece is an image of a winged creature, highlighting the shift from 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional. This concept leads to possibilities of multi use and medium of wool surfaces.

    Flight (14 Apr - 17 Apr 2014) D. M. Cumming, N. Weaver. One oh Eight Gallery. Ironbank Building. Auckland,
    The design piece was selected for exhibition in Auckland in association with 'Shapeshifting' conference alongside other international fashion design researchers. In this research, designing a garment within the parameters of a one-piece pattern poses alternative methodology in design, technical applications and future sustainable processes. The design emulates parts of the body shape and extends the parameters without reliance on cutting multiple shaped pieces or seaming in traditional positions. It developed further research in pattern balance, drape and technological application when the fabric is devoid of drape qualities through grainline behavior of weft, warp and bias threads, as presented in many emerging textiles. Qualities of strength and collapse for creating shape or folds are developed through laser cut pattern and placement for balance on the body.

  • Qualifications

    BSc (Canterbury University)
    MDes (Massey University)