Campus for Design and Art

Students of fashion design design costume design for Wagner opera in Bayreuth

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For the scenic opera performance of Siegried Wagner's opera "Sun Flames" on 15 and 16 August 2020 as part of the Bayreuth Festival, students of the Campus Design of the Trier University of Applied Sciences created a scenic costume design.


The concepts for this were developed within the framework of a semester assignment in the 3rd semester of fashion design. Through Prof. Christian Bruns, who already designed the costume design for the Bayreuth Opera in the past 2019 season, the students had the unique opportunity to design a costume for the performance of Wagner's opera "Sonnenflammen". The University of Applied Sciences Trier always places great value on practice-oriented studies with a focus on application - the cooperation with the Bayreuth Festival is the best example of this.

Prof. Bruns teaches digital design with a focus on 3D prototyping. This semester, the students were given the task of developing a costume for the scene of the costume ball in the opera "Sonnenflammen" within the framework of digitally supported design. The design should not be traditional, but future-oriented. The students' best costume designs will be worn on stage by the performers in Bayreuth for the performance in August.

Sustainability and digitalisation
In the Fashion Design Department at Trier University of Applied Sciences, the topics of sustainability and digitalisation in fashion have become a major focus. Therefore, the semester assignment was also set under the topic "Upcycling & Sustainability vs. Digital Design". After all, the world of fashion is in a constant process of further development. Traditional techniques meet progressive innovations. The digitalization of fashion design opens up new possibilities and is a perfect complement to traditional techniques. New concepts for optimised production methods are in demand. At the same time, questions of sustainability must be answered innovatively and changes in consumer needs must be taken into account.

In the semester assignment, students developed a deeper understanding of the complex interrelationships in the fashion industry. They also learned how to transfer innovative concepts into commercially viable collections and gained insight into the industry-oriented, digitally supported approach to collection design. Using the latest 3D design technology, the students designed their costume ideas on the computer. They found the fabrics and materials for their designs in the sense of sustainable upcycling in bulky waste, at the scrap yard or in the old clothes collection. The old materials, which had actually already been discarded as "unusable", were revived and reused to create innovative ideas. For example, fabrics were woven from old video tapes.

Deeper understanding through art and cultural studies contextualization
For the thematic preparation the students also dealt with the art and cultural aspects of opera. A good fashion design always requires extensive - in this case historical - research. It is important to understand the social background so that a design does not remain superficial and only follows a successful visual appearance. In the accompanying seminars, the students, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Christina Threuter, examined both biographical aspects and the artistic environment of the composer Siegfried Wagner. The symbol of the sun, which was the title of the opera, was also examined in a contemporary context. The seminars formed a solid scientific basis for the design concept and at the same time provided inspiration for the costume design.

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Design by Anna Huber, photo: Laurin Keul
Woven fabric from old video tapes by Yvonne Brascke
Moodboard for inspiration by Lea Schiffer
Performance venue World Cultural Heritage Margravial Opera House Bayreuth, Photo: Prof. Christian Bruns
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