I got a look into a unique mashup of fashion and technology at this year’s Seamless 2008, held at the Museum of Science in Boston. Designers showcased ideas that wove together traditional textiles with solar panels, wifi, bluetooth, and LED’s.
Some ideas appeared to be in their infancy, but were great concepts. Barbara Layne’s tornado dress had “three small photocells (that) detect ambient light” which merely made the dress flash. A more in-depth approach may have been to read in data from a website to judge if certain criteria met those for extreme weather. Hard to demo, of course, but perhaps a bit more useful. Of course this notion fabric displaying information is partially borrowed from the Project Peau d’Ane, in which Valerie Lamontagne and her co-designers actually did use scientific information to change the behavior of the dresses. The moon dress, for example, had “thermochromic painted flowers embroidered with resistive silver threads”. Take that, lunar fashionistas!
Perhaps the grandest of the pieces was the Project Party Dress, architectural in its scope and definitely a way to bring a different feel to any event. It’s basically a tent worn by 5 women that look like a troupe of killer waitresses, and when it expands you get to see those same ladies stand at the corners like beautiful living gargoyles. I am curious what this party dress would look like done in white or red gauze, to give more of a lightness to the tent and make it more inviting to step inside.
Finally, in possibly the most controversial mix of technology and religion, the Charming Burka by Markus Kison stands alone. It’s a simple idea – give a woman with a burka the power to decide how to show her true identity. Via infomation embedded in the cloth, a woman could choose to send her real photo to anyone around her with a bluetooth-enabled device. Although the designer claims that “no rules of the Koran are broken” on his website, I picture it being just the type of thing a rebellious teenage girl would use to do what she could to show her individuality.