The project ‘Smart Wearables, Soft Skin’ focuses on the interaction between wearable technology and the sensorial physical body. Through an embodied approach, it aims at bringing back fashion’s human dimension in relation to technological innovation. A selection of fashion and product designers will develop ‘skin suits’ made from smart textiles. In doing so, they will explore the intimate and affective relationship between smart textiles and the human body, with a special role for all senses. In the field of fashion, sight – the visual – is often privileged. Yet, this project will focus on the other senses as well. Instead of the hard functional materials of most wearable technology, this project explores how ‘soft technology’ designed on the skin affects the actual physical, sensorial and embodied experience of the wearer. Moreover, it also explores how these sensorial experiences affect the design (process) of fashionable smart textiles.
‘Smart Wearables, Soft Skin’ suggests that fashion’s human dimension – and thus all the senses – is the new luxury in the field of wearables.
The project started from the following research questions:
- How can we bring back fashion’s human dimension in relation to technological innovation?
- How can we redefine the intimate and affective relationship between smart textiles and the human body?
- How does the sensorial and embodied experience of wearing smart textiles and soft technology directly on the skin affect fashion design?
During the workshop in Canet, designers experimented with the development of smart textiles in direct relation to the skin of the physical body.
Suzanne Oude Hengel