“All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.”
Like many of the late physicist Carl Sagan’s famous quotes, this one reminds us that we’re all living amidst unfathomable forces beyond our comprehension of scope--including 40 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way alone--but that those forces also dwell within every spec of our being. And it’s this same awesomely empowering philosophy that brings us the stellar fashions from slowfactory, by Céline Semaan Vernon. Her high-end apparel includes textiles printed with public domain imagery captured by NASA. So a scarf bursts with the brilliance of the Horsehead Nebula, as captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, while a dress seems to snake its way up the female form, stretching through the tendrils of Greenland’s waterways, as photographed by the Terra Modis satellite.
“It’s like a bridge between fashion and science,” Vernon tells Co.Design. She equates her work to “wrapping yourself in the Universe,” hoping that we can bask in the beauty of the natural phenomenon around us, even if it’s very far away.
Given that the Universe is roughly 14 billion years old, Vernon (somewhat fairly) views her work as timeless, urging that it should be regarded beyond the ebb and flow of fashion trends. That said, she still concedes that the collections could be studied with a critical eye as one looks back through the decades.
“Take my [dress] of Greenland. There’s a picture on the NASA website from 30 years ago where you can see the ice. Now it’s crumbled away,” Vernon explains. “If I were to print the same image year after year, we’d be amazed by the evolution.”
In fact, Vernon is strongly considering doing just that. While she could obviously take artistic license with NASA’s Creative Commons works, pushing galactic abstraction to new heights, she’d rather her apparel live in that immeasurably satisfying halfway point between art and science--that same halfway point that makes Sagan’s poetic ode to the cosmos equally powerful 40 years later.