The Future Fashion Show, the fashion show-happening of wearable technologies, took place the 20th and the 21st of May during the convention The technological Invasions, meeting-debate on the influence of new technologies on mind, communication and science.
The event, organized by Viaggio Telecom , was admirably arranged by CuteCircuit and was attended by the most important names animating the experimentation scene of wearable technologies. The most important international schools, which include programs of interaction design and advanced experimentations with new technologies, ( ITP New York, Banff Centre Canada, Central Saint Martin London, Media Lab, Fabrica, Interaction Ivrea ), have been widely represented on the scene of this fashion show and on the exhibition at the Leopolda Station of Pisa the day after.
The works presented at the show have been divided into 4 categories: Communicative, Adaptive, Fun ed Expressive. In the Adaptive section, (cloths adapting to the context in constant mutation making our life more comfortable and safe) (re)connect by Kate Hartman (Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU, USA), strikes my attention: an oversize plush jacket provided with a conductive tissue, sticks and little motors producing vibes. A simple idea but quite relevant to the concept of cloth as a protection from the external world: in this case, the jacket serves as a screen for the surrounding chaos. Assuming natural postures, such as the act of folding arms, the model closes the internal circuit activating a subtle vibe operating on the upper part of the body. The widespread aptic sensation helps on focusing on yourself and on your own sensations, on withdrawing into the privacy of your physical and mental space.
In the Fun category it is worth mentioning (cloths making daily activities funnier and more agreeable) Hearwear by Younghui Kim and Milena Berry (Absurdee LLC, and Missing Pixel LLC, USA ), another exploration of the relation cloth-external space. In this case, it is a line of cloths and accessories turning into “screens” for the graphical visualisation of the environmental noise. An identification form of the sound, skilfully hidden within the tissue, records the surrounding level of noise, recognising its pattern and turning it into an attractive sequence of light emitted by the electroluminescent wires interwoven in the material. The concept is proposed in two declinations, a sports bag and an elegant skirt.
Among the cloths of the section Expressive ( cloths making daily activities funnier and more agreeable) The Soft Electric by Grace Kim (Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU , USA ) deserves to be mentioned. This project is the result of a thesis exploring the emerging aesthetics of wearable technologies. Grace Kim focuses her attention on technology as an ornament and creates a wonderful caplet, weaving and embroidering by hand felt and conductive wire, which turn on small LEDs when the frontal clip is closed. Simple, functional and asthetically very nice and balanced.
WhiSpiral by Elena Corchero and Stefan Agamanolis (Media Lab Europe, Ireland ) explores the cloth as relation and memory. The wonderful spiraliform stole hides within its soft tissue 9 little recording modules able to stock short messages (10 seconds) which can be listened back with the touch of a simple caress. The poetical idea is that this accessory-memory, material and immaterial meanwhile, can establish the ideal farewell gift for a beloved person.
The artistic exploration process of the marriage technology-fashion, which has started in Italy thanks to the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea, has found its natural continuation in the Future Fashion Show of Pisa, introducing the subjects of smart clothes and wearable technologies to a wider public. My wish is that this event was just the prelude and that the debate on design, fashion and new technologies did not stop here but that, instead, it found another stage and an even wider public.