Anti-hipster Jony Ive stands up for the beauty of machine-made products

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Jony Ive
Jony Ive sure loves fashion.
Photo: Apple

Apple plans to make a big splash in the fashion world next year by sponsoring the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s big Costume Institute exhibit. Few details about the project are known, but Apple design guru Jony Ive teased what visitors might be able to expect in a new interview about the intersection of technology and fashion.

Ive and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour sat down with the Wall Street Journal to talk about the show — set to take place May 2, 2016 — and it’s mission to combine handmade crafting techniques with automation like 3-D printing to explore “the full spectrum of processes by which clothing is designed and made.”

Apple has been at the forefront of automation design by using hundreds of CNC machines to create perfectly crafted MacBooks, iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. While some designers have derided the use of automated machines in preference of “artisanal” methods, Ive claims handmade stuff isn’t necessarily better.

“It’s a completely false notion that there is inherent value in what is made by hand, or an inherent lack of value in what is made by machine,” said Ive.

Both Ive and Wintour were sporting the new Hermes Apple Watch bands during the interview. Ive talked about how the Apple Watch is the company’s first foray into fashion, but now intertwining technology and fashion is part of Apple’s mission.

“As products become more personal, something that is worn on the wrist put us in the space of fashion,” said Ive. “These are issues close to our hearts. Our understanding will temper and define future products we’re working on. We’re only starting.”

The Met Costume Institute exhibition will feature three dozen designers and over 100 items of clothing items from the 1880s up to now. Spaces will be dedicated to old-school processes like knitting, lacework and leatherwork, as well as new tech like thermo shaping, laser cutting, 3-D printing and ultrasonic welding.