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Hidden Poop Joke Found in 17th-Century Art Owned By Queen Elizabeth

Art restorations can often uncover surprises—a revealing sketch of the Mona Lisa, say, or a forgotten detail obscured by dirt. Now, conservators who recently cleaned a 17th-century painting in Queen Elizabeth II’s collection have discovered a different sort of surprise: A once-hidden illustration of a man who is … well, pooping.

The Royal Collection Trust, which manages the art collection of the British royal family, found the bizarre detail in a 1643 work by Dutch painter Isack van Ostade. As conservators began to clean the painting, they realized a bush in the painting’s right foreground was not original to the work. When they removed the bush, they discovered a squatting man relieving himself.
A Village Fair With a Church Behind, pre-cleaning (Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
The painting, which was displayed for years on the walls of the Buckingham Palace art gallery, has been in the royal family’s collection since 1810. Curators believe that the man was painted over in 1903. In a release, Desmond Shawe-Taylor, a curator who oversees the royal collection, says that there’s a good reason for both the man’s pose and the ensuing cover-up:
Dutch artists often include people or animals answering the call of nature partly as a joke and partly to remind viewers of that crucial word ‘nature’, the inspiration for their art. Queen Victoria thought the Dutch pictures in her collection were painted in a ‘low style’; two years after her death perhaps a royal advisor felt similarly.

Now that van Ostade’s potty humor has been uncovered, the painting’s title, A Village Fair With a Church Behind, has taken on new meaning. This isn’t the first time the Queen’s art restorers have uncovered art booty, though: Another “restored” Dutch painting features a tavern sign that depicts two squatting buttocks. The Dutch may have had a thing for bums, but British royals are now the butt of the joke.
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For the real hits of fashion week, look to computer science

Fall fashion season is drawing to a close in Paris this week. Among this year’s runway trends are glitter (London),stripes (Milan) and penises (good old New York). For a more detailed analysis of which looks will percolate down to the masses, you might turn to a sartorial mainstay such asVogue. Or you could ask a computer scientist.

It turns out that for identifying general trends, a computer program might be as good a fashion guide as Vogue’slegendary editor Anna Wintour. Researchers from Taiwan and the University of Rochester in New York have developed machine learning algorithms that enable a computer to spot the fashion trends that make their way from the runway to the street. The work may lead to tricks for quickly pinpointing what’s popular with the people, Kezhen Chen, computer science major and study coauthor told me.

Chen started the project while taking a course with the University of Rochester’s Jiebo Luo, an expert in data mining and computer vision. Luo says the research might eventually help garment makers and distributors better tailor the supply side of the chain. This might mean that in the future, stores could keep up with demand if a superpopular style of shoe or shirt is flying off the racks.

To start, researchers trained a collection of algorithms to identify things like a body and clothing. Using a training set of images of people from the Web, the machine learning algorithms mastered identifying a human figure and nine anatomical sections, such as torso, upper left arm or lower right leg. The algorithms also learned to assess features such as color and texture, clothing categories such as “skirt” and elements such as a placket (an opening in a garment, like those at the neck or sleeve of a dress shirt, that can be decorative or that hosts the buttons and button holes, thank you Google).

Then the team created two datasets: One contained thousands of images from the February 2014 and 2015 New York fashion shows and the other contained hundreds of images of people’s clothes gleaned from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (see #streetchic) from the corresponding spring and summers. (The researchers’ paper, “Who are the devils wearing Prada in New York City?,” will be presented at the ACM Multimedia conference in Brisbane, Australia, at the end of October.)

The computer picked up on several general trends. In the February 2015 fashion show, for example, tank tops, plackets and necks with collars became more prominent, as did longer length skirts. These styles also made their way to the street with similar representation in the street chic dataset as they had on the fashion show set. Blue in the lower body and blue, cyan, red and multicolor items in the upper body also were prominent in both datasets.

The program also spotted modifications to the catwalk styles. People on the street were more likely to wear longer sleeves, for example, and bright colors on both the upper and lower body, while fashion shows kept their brights to the upper body.

If you knew what a placket was before reading this post, congratulations. But if you are congratulating yourself for your lack of fashion knowledge — maybe you’re that person who bucked the trend by wearing bright pants — don’t be too smug. Variations on the fashion show styles were pretty minor compared with the amount of style that did influence the outfits of the masses.

So perhaps Miranda Priestly of Devil Wears Prada (played in the film by Meryl Streep and supposedly modeled after Anna Wintour) was right in that scene where she dresses down journalist Andrea Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway) for thinking the schlumpy blue sweater she’s wearing means that she doesn’t care about fashion. The sweater’s color, Priestly notes, is the direct result of color choices made by the crème de la crème of fashion designers.

“It’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry,” Priestly says, “when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room.”

This Computer Can Track How Fashion Spreads From the Runway to the Street

As algorithms get more sophisticated and humans figure out how to build more intelligent computers, the benefits are reaching new disciplines. Computers have entered the world of fine art analysis and now they’re assessing the sucess of fashion designers, reports a writer for MIT Technology Review.

Researchers at National Taiwan University in Taipei have taught a computer algorithm to recognize the components of an outfit and its style. With their trained algorithm, they’ve shown how street fashion reflects the designs seen marching down the runway at fashion shows.

The algorithm works by first analyzing nine regions on a person’s body: the upper and lower, left and right arms; upper and lower left and right legs; and the torso. According to MIT Technology Review:

[The algorithm] then analyses the color, texture, skin, and so on for each of these areas to create a list that acts like a visual feature vector for the entire body. Comparing fashion styles then boils down to the relatively simple mathematical process of comparing these 72-dimension vectors.
Using that framework, the researchers compared two sets of photographs: one from the New York Fashion Week shows in 2014 and 2015 and another from “street-chic” fashions taken during the corresponding seasons. The researchers write, in the pre-print archive arXiv, “We observe that there are always some classic colors, patterns or styles that have a large amount of clothing images in the fashion shows of every year.”

White, grey and black were popular for the upper body in 2014 and 2015. Solid patterns also dominate. But there were also changes that the algorithm flagged. Unique features in fashion for 2015 as opposed to 2014 included blue, multicolor, red and cyan for the upper body. Blue and purple for the lower body were also notable trends. The analysis revealed mirroring changes in street fashion for the appropriate season.

“We could tell that many people have the penchant to emulate clothing styles shown in the fashion shows,” the researchers write.

However in some cases, street fashion didn’t follow the fashion shows’ trends. Summer clothing for 2015 included light colors on top and bottom, in contrast to the light tops and darker bottoms seen on the runway.
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CAD saves a pay cheque

New technology such as CAD has dramatically transformed the process of design. It enables students to showcase their work in different perspectives and provides a 360-degree view of a design.  Many reputed fashion designers may choose to initially design their creations manually; CAD software is normally used in the latter portions of the design process.

This programme opens up career opportunities in the areas of fashion merchandising, sales promotion, retail advertising, and other retail activities. A student after the completion of the course will have following job profiles to choose: Fashion buyer, Fashion Merchandiser, Product Designer and developer, Design Consultant & Entrepreneur, Exporter, Retailing outlets, Boutiques & Visual Merchandiser, Production Executive, Quality Control Manager, Sampling Co-ordinator, sourcing manager.

“Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life.” — Bill Cunningham.

The program in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management aspires to train fashion management professionals to face the changing trends in the fast moving fashion world.  It enables to understand and interpret the economic macro-scenarios, to anticipate and analyze the changes. The modules helps to understand the strengths and the weaknesses of competitors, to segment and monitor the market, to identify the product and the related production, distribution and sales dynamics and also to envisage new business opportunities for brand development. Most importantly, the course deals with the constantly changing aspects of fashion marketing management from the analysis of the Fashion System to study the eccentricity of fashion marketing and fashion communication techniques, through the use of digital media.

The software is preferred by apparel manufacturers to determine the most efficient marker and to align the patterns in an economical manner. The virtual prototyping enables to check the fit and drape of a garment. Designers can then make any necessary modifications to the design instantaneously. The course provides students with an opportunity to understand the importance of combining technology with creativity for a quality output.

Some of the career opportunities: Fashion Designer, Textile Designer, Illustrator, Pattern Maker or Stylist, Retail Merchandising, Visual merchandiser.


Would you take fashion advice from a computer?

Fashion is a strange, fickle beast. It changes with the seasons, following new styles and the hottest celebrities’ latest looks. What’s cool now could be dorky next week. But it may soon get much easier to keep up, provided you’re willing to listen to the advice of an unfeeling machine – specifically, a computer algorithm that crunches the numbers to give you an assessment as to how fashionable your outfit is and how it might be improved.

The algorithm was produced by researchers from Spain’s Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics, along with colleagues at the University of Toronto. It’s built on a detailed analysis of a dataset containing 144,000 user posts from fashion website

To turn the data into a well-defined mathematical model for trendiness, the researchers used a deep neural network coupled with a conditional random field, which helps the computer learn how random elements such as geographic location, background scenery, and ethnicity do or do not predict how fashionable a post is. The learning process considered not only what was visible in the photos but also the number of “likes” received, the tags, and any accompanying comments or descriptions.

From the many levels of analysis, correlations, and evaluation, the algorithm learned how fashion varies by season and city and even age group. Armed with this knowledge, it can now predict with reasonable accuracy whether a given outfit would be deemed fashionable, and offer suggestions for how to dress more fashionably.

The research leaves three big questions unanswered, however: firstly, how quickly could a system such as this adapt to new trends? Secondly, how would it cope with a wider range of body sizes and shapes than appear in a dataset drawn from a fashion-focused photography social network – which would have a tendency, through self-selection, to be dominated by thin young women?

And finally, most crucially, would anyone even consider fashion advice from a machine? Clothing is such a personal, individual thing that, even accounting for the desire to be trendy, it’s hard to believe something like this ever catching on. Fashionistas are too far ahead of the game to benefit, style-conscious people will likely take the word of friends, magazines, and celebrities over that of an algorithm (however accurate it may be), and the rest of us probably don’t care enough to bother.

That said, we’re curious to see how much further the research could go. Just imagine a world where new trends are dictated not by the whims of a few but by the mathematical reasoning of a machine that studies the many. Would that be liberating? Or suffocating?

A paper describing the research was presented at the 2015 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in June.

Source: Univsersitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Importance of Computers in Fashion Design

Over the decades computers and fashion have developed gradually, changed with time, taste and trend. But nobody knew that a time will come when both these fields will complement each other so well. Today fashion design has reached new heights by computer aided methods of design. As a result of which, computer industry has got its new customer. Computer technology is making waves in the fashion design zone. From determining textile weaves to sizing designs; computers are a vital component of the fashion industry. Computer aided design (CAD) programs reduce the demand for manual sketches. New software programs continue to replace old manual skills. Going by the wayside are “old fashioned” flat pattern construction, pencil sketching and traditional math-based pattern sizing. Those who lag in math and falter at sketching can now breathe a little easier.

What is CAD?

Computer-aided design (CAD), also known as computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is the use of computer technology for the process of design and design-documentation. Computer Aided Drafting describes the process of drafting with a computer. CADD software, or environments, provides the user with input-tools for the purpose of streamlining design processes; drafting, documentation, and manufacturing processes. CAD may be used to design curves and figures in two-dimensional (2D) space; or curves, surfaces, and solids in three-dimensional (3D) objects.

Importance of Computers in Fashion Design

Although most designers initially sketch designs by hand, a growing number also translate these hand sketches to the computer. CAD allows designers to view designs of clothing on virtual models and in various colors and shapes, thus saving time by requiring fewer adjustments of prototypes and samples later.

Most fashion design colleges, however, still teach traditional design methods, including manual flat pattern construction, draping and line drawing. No doubt that learning of these methods are essential for having a good idea about fashion design but Cutting-edge education also focuses on computer aided methods of design. Software can help students draw, create woven textures, drape models to create patterns, adjust sizes and even determine fabric colors. By Introducing this technological aspect will enable students to understand a lot better and try various combinations in their design. This also cuts down the time factor i.e. by use of CAD methods students can learn a lot faster and more software in less time but Fashion Design is not an easy profession. You dont have to word hard rather WORK SMART.

Blend OLD and NEW

Its not that one should neglect the manual design methods and completely focus on CAD methods. State-of-the-art technology is important, but a sound understanding of the methods behind production is also essential. Manually figuring size adjustments and cutting pattern pieces instills that knowledge. Software programs constantly evolve. A program used today may be obsolete within several years. Being trained on today’s software does not guarantee it will be used when you are ready to go out into the field. Understanding calculations is timeless, as is computer competency. Software, however, shifts rapidly.

Sketching remains a basic design skill. The option now exists to create computer generated drawings of your work. Take advantage of the old and new. Master the ability to sketch on paper and perfect your skills as a computer-aided designer. Masterful sketches, whether hand-drawn or computer-generated, are what sell your designs. Fashion continues to evolve with computer technology pointing forward. You must not lag behind. Yet you should not forge forward without a sound understanding of the basics. Computer technology is the prevalent method for both knit and woven pattern construction and is coming to the forefront as the sketching method of choice. Learn the necessary technologies to stay on fashion’s forefront.

The author is Computer Faculty in Satyam Fashion Institute, Noida.