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SA designers use AI to create unique outfits from Volvo EX30 upholstery

Source: Motorpress /Volvo Car South Africa

EX30-inspired Autumn/Winter 2024 ready-to-wear garment

Volvo Car South Africa is pleased to announce a unique collaboration in which two innovative South African designers employed artificial intelligence (AI) to help create distinctive fashion items using sustainable upholstery sourced from the fully electric Volvo EX30.

SA designers use AI to create unique outfits from Volvo EX30 upholstery
Under the slogan “Designed with AI, Crafted by Humans”, fashion designers Fikile Sokhulu and Nao Serati Mofammere – each known for their thought-provoking designs and well-considered use of materials – were briefed to create an EX30-inspired Autumn/Winter 2024 ready-to-wear garment. They were furthermore tasked with incorporating both AI technology and sustainable design practices into their respective creative processes.

“With sustainability front of mind, the interior of the new Volvo EX30 includes several renewable and recycled materials. This forward-thinking fully electric car is also fitted with many advanced driver-assistance and safety features, which we see as forebears to AI technologies that could be used in future models,” said Marishka Govender, Volvo Car SA Chief Financial Officer.

“As such, we wanted to inspire the public to view sustainability and advanced technologies such as AI as concepts that can exist in harmony with human-centric ideas of beauty and creativity. In addition, as a brand that is always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in automotive technology and beyond, we wanted to spark conversations about potential applications for AI,” Govender added.

Sokhulu, who holds a Master’s Degree in Business and Brand Management from the Milan Fashion Institute, is renowned for her work with natural fibres, which she values for their biodegradable qualities. The Durban-born designer draws inspiration from her cultural heritage and has a deep respect for nature, echoing Volvo’s dedication to sustainability and responsible luxury.

Using materials from the Volvo EX30’s expressive Indigo interior theme – which includes a studio-inspired recycled textile paired with Nortico as well as denim fibres reclaimed from discarded blue jeans – Sokhulu integrated Meta AI into her creative process to help come up with an outfit tailored specifically for EX30 Champion Thea Booysen.

“Accelerating in the EX30 feels something like taking off in an aeroplane, so I wanted to convey that sense of freshness and lightness in my design. The fabric was also surprisingly simple to work with, allowing me to easily incorporate natural ideas of both symmetry and asymmetry,” explained Sokhulu.

Meanwhile, Mofammere – a LISOF graduate who launched the Nao Serati brand in 2014 – specialises in unisex garments with a distinctively South African flavour. Considering his ability to blend conceptual fashion with high levels of practicality, Volvo saw the Johannesburg-based designer as an ideal partner to push the boundaries of how automotive materials can be reimagined as fashion.

With input from Midjourney AI, Mofammere’s design incorporates upholstery from the Volvo EX30’s Mist interior theme, which includes a responsibly sourced tailored wool blend as well as textile inlay mats made from discarded fishing nets and other recycled materials. The eye-catching outfit was conceived specifically for EX30 Champion Lasizwe Dambuza.

“Part of my process involved cutting up the fabric and carefully weaving it back together, drawing inspiration from the recycled fishing nets Volvo uses to manufacture the EX30’s sturdy inlay mats. I embraced the ideas put forward by AI, opting not to fight the technology but rather take the opportunity to create something unique out of it,” said Mofammere.

Through this partnership with two highly innovative designers, Volvo has successfully demonstrated the versatility and creative potential of sustainable materials as well as the carefully considered integration of AI technology. Both of the resulting outfits will be displayed at various Volvo dealerships around South Africa.
Both of the resulting outfits will be displayed at various Volvo dealerships around South Africa.
Volvo uses to manufacture the EX30’s sturdy inlay mats

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