Exploring the future of fashion, The Look Forward Fashion Tech festival has not only been arousing the curiosity of those unfamiliar with the space, it has also answered questions surrounding the latest emerging technologies.
What kind of therapeutic garments should we expect from the fashion tech space?
There is garment designed by Pauline van Dongen and Martijn ten Bhomer that can assist elderly people. Called VIGOUR, it is a knitted cardigan with ‘stretch’ captors concealed in the knit. It stretches and contracts like an elastic band, and it also has sensors that measure the speed, the quality and flexibility of the movements. This information is converted into collected data that reports the progress made by the wearer.
Is it true that our personality will design our outfits?
Well, yes it is true. It is more to do with offering consumers the opportunity to express their individuality than anything else. Exploring this is a project called ABTRACT_ by Julie Helles Eriksen, Kristine Borden and Bjorn Karmann. They are all about involving the customer in the creative process. It works with the customer in writing their story whilst the computer webcam detects their face and studies their facial expressions simultaneously. The collected data, including their story, form an algorithm that generates a unique and personalised motif that they can position on the garment of their choice.
Will garments of the future truly offer an ecological solution?
This is a topic that has been well written and talked about. I think that most of today’s designers ask themselves whether their garment is a ecological solution when designing. A good example of an ecological solution is the Herself dress by Helen Story and Tony Ryan. The garment they have designed can be used as a catalytic surface in order to purify the surrounding air. They have done this by perfecting the CatClo, a substance which is a kind of composite washing product made up of particles of titanium dioxide (TiO2). When these particles come into contact with nitrogen oxide molecules in the air, the nanoparticles trap them in the fabric. Basically, when someone wears the garment when it has been washed with CatClo, they would help to eliminate about 5 grams of nitrogen oxide from the atmosphere in the course of one day.
Will clothes have the capabilities to express our beliefs and values?
Well, Melissa Coleman from the Netherlands, currently living in London, seems to think so. The fashion tech designer who has been organizing events worldwide that exhibit work from designers like Marina Toeters, Aniela Hoitink, Ricardo O’Nascimento and Maartje Dijkstra to name a few, has come up with an accessory that was inspired by her commitment and solidarity to a cause. Made of black lace, the variable has been enhanced by technology to symbolize the loss of life. The piece pays homage to all of the young girls aged under 18 who die every 7 1/2 minutes somewhere in the world during childbirth.
Can we expect the clothes we wear to protect us?
One look at Anouk Wipprecht’s spider dress and you will have your answer. The mechatronic dress was inspired by the beauty and behaviour of spiders, the 3D printed dress has been designed to defend the personal space of the wearer. Made up of 6 arms, the dress has proximity and breathing sensors that can detect bio-signals powered by the Intel Edison processor. Reacting autonomously to the information it receives the dress is guided by the wearer’s breathing.
Also Read: Conversing Fashion Tech With Anouk Wipprecht
So if the wearer breathes faster, than the garment’s arms will protect them from the ‘threat’ by raising the arms and taking an aggressive posture. On the other hand, if someone approaches the wearer in a non-threatening manner, then the dress opens up and welcomes them. The dress also flashes light if it senses danger and glows softly if there is no threat.
Will our clothes be able to read our thoughts?
Not quite yet, but there is a collection of three dresses designed by Meg Grant and Anna Hertenberger that recite poems depending on the attitude of the wearer. With the ability to correspond or contemplate the wearer’s gesture, the dresses reacts by reciting a poem out loud, which is heard through the speakers integrated in the dress. The sound and intensity level depends on the gesture. The dresses combine the art of embroidery with technology by mixing cotton thread and a conductive thread with interactive technology.
Will our clothes have the capabilities to be sensitive to our environment?
This is something that some designers have included in their creations, and one of those designers is Benhaz Farahi. Her ‘Caress of Gaze’ cape, reacts when someone looks at the garment. Detecting the movement and intensity of the gaze, the information is transmitted in real time to the feathers that react by either standing up or drawing in. Created entirely in 3D, the movement of the cape gives it a feeling of being alive due to the sensors that are linked to a micro controller which is itself connected to a camera.
Can we look forward to wearing clothes that are ‘alive’?
There is a creation called LIKE LIVING ORGANISMS. The brainchild of Local Android, it takes on the form of a second skin by resembling it in colour, texture and touch. With the ability to breath, it was inspired by the excitement we feel when we meet someone for the first time. It works by coming alive when the wearer gets close to someone. Imagine wearing the second skin all over your body and then it reacting by veins appearing or it pulsating, as a way of shielding you so the person knows not to come to close to you. It is a great protector of personal space. By coming to live, it lets the world around you know your comfort level without having to say a word.
Can we look forward to clothes that reveal our true selves?
AWESOME GOOSEBUMPS, is a garment that has an internal mechanism that gives the impression that it is alive. A merger of art and science, the animatronic garment is made of inflatable silicone which is amplifies the feeling of goosebumps. By stimulating this particular feeling the wearable promotes the wearer’s wellbeing by reacting to their rhythm of breathing. The ‘extimacy’ of the garment means that it has the capacity to externalise what is happening on the inside and opening up to the world.
Is it possible to translate my environment into a design?
There is garment called WEARABLE FACADE by Ricardo O’Nascimento, an artist and researcher in the field of new media and interactive art. He investigates body environment relations focused on interface development for worn devices, interactive installations and hybrid environments. Using micro-cameras, it captures the colours and shapes of the environment and then with the help of a computer translates them into designs. The motifs are then displayed on the garment’s LED surface, forming a luminous graphic design. When the garment is worn, the wearer can reflect and absorb the surroundings in real time.
Can we expect living material to play a role in the future of fashion?
Yes, you can. There is a material designer called Ninela Ivanova. She has come up with T-shirts that are made from cultivated mould. She explores whether the use of fungi could mean that maybe it will be possible to use organic materials in fashion and manufacturing procedures in the near future. In the hope of showing that micro-organisms could be vital to our ecosystem, she wants to offer nature as the solution to responsible fashion. Leaning on biotechnology, Ivanova’s T-shirts highlight the role that science could play when it comes to living a more sustainable life.