The term ‘Smart Garments’ might sound shiny and new to the current crop of fashion creatives, but the truth of the matter is that the merger of textile and technology has been operating under the radar in the B2B world for quite some time now. Widely adopted by various industries and predicted to be worth $130 billion by 2025, we have brought together a perfect and diverse combination of experts – Aniela Hoitink, Victoria Geany and Rachel Freire- to discuss how the textile industry is engineering the next wave of smart clothing technology and applications.
Exploring the reality and growth of Smart Garments
Aniela Hoitink has an extensive background in the commercial fashion industry (15+ years; Tommy Hilfiger, Gaastra), which helps in translating (bio) technology into the market. The material designer has explored the possibilities of technology while she is making textile organic and alive. Her past project was Dynamic Skin which is based on how textile should respond to the user instead of the other way around.
She believes that innovation should create textiles that are much more alive, to reaffirm our connection with them. This can be achieved with garments that respond to the wearer’s needs, for example, actively providing protection or care without any conscious thought on the wearer’s part. This is the idea behind Dynamic Skin. She founded NEFFA which is currently helping companies, research institutes and universities with the integration of their (bio) technology into textile prototypes and designs to make them more appealing for a specific target group or a wider audience.
Victoria Geaney is a conceptual and interdisciplinary fashion designer who examines the intersections between the worlds of fashion, art, science and technology. Informed by the emerging bio-design and metamodern movements, her practice-led research theorises the production of multidisciplinary work merging synthetic biology and fashion.
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Bringing bioluminescent bacteria to fabrics, Victoria came up with a dress that has photobacterium making it capable of glowing for 72 hours after application. With experience in conceptual fashion, Victoria has previously created pieces formed from a self-cleaning nanotechnology fabric for the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology exhibition at Imperial, as well as her latest collaboration assisting the 2014 iGEM team on the Aqualose project shown at the iGEM Conference and Imperial Festival.
ALSO READ: The Radical Transformation of Smart Textiles
Rachel Freire is fascinated with combining fabrics and circuits to create functional garments for the future. As a director and textile designer at mi.mu gloves, Rachel’s work stems from a desire to accentuate and celebrate the feminine form, fusing science, mathematics, literature, art and everything in between.
A creative visionary at the cutting edge of fashion tech, Rachel; recently worked with Sophia Brueckner on the Embodisuit which allows its wearer to map signals onto different places on their body. It both critiques and offers an alternative to current trends in wearable technology. Most wearables harvest data from their users to be sent and processed elsewhere.
The Embodisuit flips this paradigm. Informed by embodied cognition, the suit instead receives signals from an IoT platform, allowing the wearer to map personally chosen signals to modular haptic actuators on the body. Knowledge is experienced ambiently without interpretation of symbols by the conscious mind. The suit empowers wearers to reconfigure the boundaries of their selves, strengthening their connection to the people, places, and things that are meaningful to them.
Taking place at Munich Fabric Start‘s Keyhouse TRENDSEMINARS in Hall 5, the open discussion will touch on Sustainability, Manufacturing, Mass Adoption, Material Design and challenges faced. Essential points of the conversation will be centred around innovations that could provide future growth in the textile industry and commercial opportunities that already exist in the sector. We will also explore how organisations can take advantage of the latest technological breakthroughs, what the next wave of technologized smart garments will be and how intelligent fabrics will be enabling new products. Another interesting discussion point that Hoitink, Geaney and Freire will be hashing out will be how can brands handle ‘end of life’ for smart and e-textiles. If you are attending, we look forward to welcoming you to be part of the conversation on Wednesday 31st January at 11 am. You can register for your ticket HERE
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.