It all started in the archives
The overall concept of "Selected Memories of Functionality" emerged after a trip to the W. L. GORE archive in Delaware in 2018. While browsing vintage treasures - TNF Trans Antarctica snow suits, 1980s Woolrich jackets, etc. – the idea for a new format to showcase memorable GORE-TEX products materialized. Beinghunted. developed the concept of "Selected Memories of Functionality" for GORE to offer insights into the brand's catalog of garment and footwear innovations dating back five decades.
Not only were these products essential for the history of the GORE-TEX brand, but they also served as a significant influence on subcultures around the globe. Instead of displaying items as a brand showcase, the series was set up to invite industry insiders to offer their experiences and memories with GORE-TEX products.
Selected Memories of Functionality take shape
As for the series debut, we brought London-based stylist Stephen Mann on board. His story revolved around creating distinctive characters wearing unique GORE-TEX products to fit their profession. The first version of "Selected Memories of Functionality" saw an ultra-runner, a cycling courier, a DJ, and many more, styled by Mann himself. The editorial featured GORE-TEX products from Stephen Mann's extensive archive and additional items sourced by Gore. During Paris Fashion Week, Stephen Mann's "Selected memories of Functionality" was part of an immersive showcase featuring photos and selected archive pieces to highlight the GORE-TEX functionality throughout the years.
For the second issue in 2020, we invited legendary New York City-based graffiti artist FUTURA to reminisce about his most memorable moments with GORE-TEX products. Among his selection was a jacket gifted to him by the late Jake Burton and the BAPE camouflage jacket, made famous by yet another New York City legend, The Notorious B.I.G. Highlights of this Paris Fashion Week event were four white GORE-TEX jumpsuits customized and signed by the artist, as well as a custom-made pattern for an exclusive rain poncho and bag.
In 2022 "Selected Memories of Functionality vol. 03" took place in New York, where Jessica Gonsalves and Brian Procell – the pair behind the city's most influential vintage hub, PROCELL – opened their archive of functional outerwear to present their most unique GORE-TEX styles. Since opening in 2012 vintage store, PROCELL has gained global recognition for its expansive vintage archive and its work as a consultancy for some of the world's most influential artists and brands. With their experience and knowledge, they assembled a unique selection of GORE-TEX products from their personal and the W. L. GORE archive in Delaware.
Leaving human terrain
After three successful editions of "Selected Memories of Functionality," we longed for something different than having people pick out their most memorable GORE-TEX products. While exploring possibilities for a new narrative for the 2023 Paris fashion week showroom, we began to see a new development: artificial intelligence (AI) machines used to picture conceptual apparel and footwear. The subject sparked our interest, and we pitched the idea to Gore to dive deeper into the topic and create a project for the "Selected Memories of Functionality" series.
The concept of machine intelligence has been a continuous fascination for people ever since the industrial revolution. Recent years have shown that we are gradually inching closer to such a reality. One of the latest significant steps in that direction is the introduction of artificial intelligence to the general public. A technology that can be used to an endless extent, with developers and creatives constantly pushing the boundaries.
This does not stop at the frontiers of fashion and design. Neither does the fascination.
Images of AI-generated styles have surfaced on major social networks and newsfeeds. People are experimenting with collaborations between their favorite brands on imaginary products, stylings, and even entire campaigns.
AI remains a mystery for many, and only a few can grasp the power and potential this technology offers and how it might develop. Currently, AI has become a buzzword - with a lot of speculation, misunderstanding, etc. - due to the novelty of the subject.
We took this as a challenge (but also realized we might only scratch the surface…) to explore the new technology further together with the GORE-TEX brand. Functional products are a need of present and future consumers as we see more unstable weather conditions, a change in commuting, or the new mindset that follows an "always being prepared" approach. So the idea was to give an impulse for a conversation about how AI interprets the future of functionality.
To bring in an expert, we joined forces with ADVANCED RESEARCH (AR), a research platform on Instagram that has followed trends within the industry for the last couple of decades and emerged as one of the leading voices in the recent increasing interest in outerwear.
As one of the earliest, ADVANCED RESEARCH has been sharing images of AI-created styles with his audience to highlight the new technology's possibilities and (visual) power. Likewise, as one of the first featured creators, NEWFACET* (NF), an AI-driven graphic design project, came up with an unparalleled quality of AI-visualized future functional products.
As a starting point for the AI-generated "Memories," we provided a single photo from a 1980s Japanese GORE-TEX catalog featuring a runway style in a blue-red-white colorway.
This picture served as the base for an image-led AI to compile multiple unique styles, six of which were chosen for the Paris Fashion Week showcase. The AI engine used for this part of the showcase is more accessible to the general public now, as it is based on sampling already existing images. In easy (non-technical) terms: the AI uses relevant photos and layers them – like in a puzzle, which could lead to certain "flaws": hands with an odd number of fingers or AI glitches where structures smudge.
However, the fact that AI managed to develop a series of images that resemble the look of the original photo is an impressive display of the technology's capability.
For us, the subject got even more impactful during the creation process of the AI-generated "Visions." Here the true power of AI became apparent. The creator behind NEWFACET* trained a unique AI to an extent where it developed its own visual language, style, and "creativity." In this case, no existing images were used; nothing that the AI came up with ever existed. All the AI needs are themes and keywords to visualize the idea of "the functional garments of tomorrow."
It appeared to us that somebody could use AI for such purposes in the future. Speaking to the creator behind the AI, it became evident that AI can be a valuable tool for designers. They can bring initial visions and ideas to life with minimal input within a short timeframe (without wasting resources and fabrics). The AI used by NEWFACET* conceptualized six models with complete outfits featured in the showroom.
Paris Mens Fashion Week 2023
Our idea of the showcase was to present concepts of future functional products, to give creative impulses, "food for thought."
The GORE-TEX brand showroom offered space for existing brand partners, industry leaders, designers, and enthusiasts – fashion and tech alike – to converse about new developments and to imagine the future of functionality.
After three years, the GORE-TEX brand returned to Paris Men's fashion week in January 2023, hosting another edition of the "Selected Memories of Functionality" series. Gore, ADVANCED RESEARCH, and NEWFACET* presented 12 unique images of conceptual GORE-TEX products and outfits as part of the showcase. Alongside the exhibition, a selection of highlighted GORE-TEX products from the last decades was part of the installation. Activities included the opening reception, with ADVANCED RESEARCH and NEWFACET* present, and a roundtable discussion on the future of functionality.
Moderated by Beinghunted., Valentina Savi (W. L. GORE), the curator of ADVANCED RESEARCH, and Aurora Realini, outdoor influencer and enthusiast, explored the possibilities, and challenges designers and brands might meet in the future.
We thank everyone who came to the opening reception or stopped by the showroom throughout the week.
About the author: Beinghunted.
Beinghunted. was launched as an online news site in October 2001 and is considered the blueprint and predecessor to all modern “hype” websites (via Hypebeast.com). The site was the starting point for a digital retail platform as well as a brick-and-mortar store in Berlin from 2004 and 2014. After its 10-year retail excursion, Beinghunted. was rebooted as a strategic consultancy in 2015. For more than six years, Beinghunted. has supported Gore in activating brand partnerships as well as developing formats to highlight product innovations.