27 February of 2014
by Ricky van Gils
We already know that media innovations are taking over our social lives, change our individual and group behaviour and influence the way we connect with others. The first thing many of us see when we wake up and the last thing we see before we go to sleep, is one of our digital devices. Products like our smart phones start to replace other products by being so much more than a device to call or text someone with.
But, if consumers receive all these changes with open arms, it’s inevitable that technology will start to affect even more aspects of our lives. Realizing that, I started wondering about the influence of technology and how this will change what we wear. With an infographic I visualized what the future modern man will look like when we embrace technology and use it to express ourselves by integrating it into our clothes.
3D printed clothing and accessories
For a couple of years we have been able to 3D print ourselves a new wardrobe. 3D technology can sustainably solve issues when it comes to sizing, and it can cut down on wastage because parts aren’t being cut out of bigger pieces of fabric. In contrast to the old-fashioned way of producing clothes, 3D printed products are made from scratch. For designers this is a totally different way of working: 3D printed clothing is completely seamless. Printed accessories and shoes are available at more and more places while getting more affordable at the same time. Although 3D printing is still expensive and time consuming, some designers are already creating complete collections with this new technology. One of these designers is Iris van Herpen from Amsterdam. You can check her latest 3D printed haute couture collection called ‘Voltage’, which is a huge breakthrough for the industry.
iPod control panel
London based designer Tine Beez graduated from Central Saint Martins College for Art and Design in 2010 with a high tech sportswear collection for women called ‘Fashion meets Technology.’ In cooperation with Fibretronic, she designed a keypad in her garments that helps you to listen to your favourite music by using the control panel that is interwoven in your sleeve. I consider this as wearable computing with literally ‘a nice sound’ to it.
Underneath the iPod control panel you find the Bluetooth glove. There is a speaker in the thumb and a microphone in the pinkie which both have conductive fiber for using with your touchscreen device. With the bluetooth glove you can actually make a real phone call by performing a make pretend phone call with your thumb and pinkie. Fully charged, the glove can be used for ten hours and the sound system is supposed to be incredible.
Harry Potter, eat your heart out. Canadian company Hyperstealth Biotechnology developed a fabric called Quantum stealth that can turn an object or person completely invisible by bending the light waves around it. According to the company, this magic fabric is lightweight and inexpensive to produce. Unfortunately, for those who would like to go shopping right away, Quantum stealth is very exclusive since it’s in hands of the American and Canadian army.
With digital printing you can directly apply a specific print to fabric. Digital printing not only reduces the water usage by 95% and the energy usage by 75%, it also gives consumers the opportunity to customize their clothes to personal desire. For example, on www.moderntailor.com you can choose the fabric, collar, tie, sleeves, cuffs, cufflinks, buttons and pockets of your own shirt. And if that isn’t enough, with only two clicks you can even add your initials to the design before you end up in the measurement menu. Definitely an interesting innovation when it comes to individualisation.
This is wearable computing at it’s best. With Google Glass users can take pictures and record movies by using only voice command or the touch pad on the side. The concept of Google Glass is a head-mounted display (HMD) in the form of a pair of glasses. A mini projector basically adds an extra layer to reality (augmented reality) that helps the user to navigate or read the information which is displayed. Google Glass also allows easy sharing and message sending to friends.
So in the near future, instead of showing who we are by buying a specific iPhone case or a designer handbag, we will be able to customize our complete outfit to our own needs and desires. Technology will literally be shaped in the form of an outfit, so we can ditch the phone and just wear the technology. The effect of this is that we will get connected to our friends and their digital devices in a complete new way.
In the end, the current paradoxical connection between the fashion industry and the technology industry will coalesce into a new harmonious tech-fashion mash-up.
Header picture by: Robert Course-Baker /edited