Life in the Big City is getting ever bigger, signficantly faster, more aggressive. Which means personal space is at a premium...and shrinking. When's it gonna stop? Fashion "phreaker" Nancy Tilbury designed this cool "Spike Jacket" as a sartorial solution. "It acts as a personal space indicator, a human porcupine," explains Tilbury about her signature technique of integrating tech into denim to transform it into a digital skin which extends the way the wearer communicates with anyone nearby - dubbed "denim disruption".
(Her "human porcupine" remark happened to remind me of a Robert Crumb short called "Street Corner DAZE" featuring this offbeat lil' character, the "Ouch-Cube".)
"The Spike Jacket has an integrated soft technology system analyzing when a personal invasion takes place responding by intensely flashing using a technology system of textile cabling, ambient lighting and silicone diffusers the jackets outputs fractious morse code and tells the viewer indirectly to back off out of your personal space," continues Tilbury. "The mega city is becoming ever more crowded and we seem to have an inability to indicate our intimate spatial limits. Spike acts as a personal barometer, a digital shield."
By hybridizing fashion with science, Tilbury and her Phreaking - which she defines as contextualizing smart clothing and intelligent fabric - will certainly mean clothing better adapted to the coming years, which have a distinctly aggressive and unfriendly feel in many ways.
"Through playful interactions we embed intimate technologies blending social media and fashion design," she adds. "Giving fast fashion an extended lifecycle as integrated soft technologies reform streetwear." Soft technologies like these bode well on the wardrobe front by injecting both eco-friendly longevity into the mix as well as plain old fashioned fun. Which is key for the APOCALYTICAL fashion tribe as they rev up for the Endtimes, but with an eye on style. "Currently, sportswear brands are slightly ahead of the game," notes Tilbury. "I think it will be fascinating to see who picks up wearable technologies in a big way in the coming years, as I believe that we are now on the cusp of these technologies being fully integrated into commercial product as consumers seek out innovation in fashion. Will it be the tech companies or the fashion houses?"
Tilbury helped design a glamorous body-con sheath for the Billboard Music Awards which looked like a classic LBD, but thanks to dimmable electronics, a power supply and wireless controls sewn right into the frock...it was anything but. A lightweight fabric with special bonding helped conceal the hardware - all from Philips Lighting - which created a variety of different lighting patterns during the singer's five-minute set which pulsed and changed to the beat of the music. Tilbury also designed light-up tour costumes for the rest of the Peas. "I believe it can change our intimate relationships with what we wear," she observes. "Today, our clothes are indirectly communicative, so people judge us on just one look, in whatever we are wearing in that moment. If that clothing could react – by sensing electrodermal activity, for example, to show our arousal, excitement or stress – those clothes will go from being static communicators to being digitally intimate. This would enable us to interact with ourselves and others in new ways, to communicate far more about who we are and what we feel." (via)
- Lesley Scott
Music: "Exotics" by KevinMacLeod, Incompetech.com
(image via Rogier van der Heide)