Panel: Open Culture + Wearables
The burgeoning DIY movement has resurrected a renewed investigation into wearable technology. Unlike previous research in the mid-90s conducted predominately by electrical engineers and computer scientists, wearable technology today is being designed and developed by interdisciplinary teams of designers, artists and other makers/crafters. As the barrier to entry (technical aptitude) has fallen in recent years due to access to inexpensive tools (Arduino, Rapid Prototyping Technologies) and online resources for knowledge exchange (Instructables, Fashioning Tech), wearable technology research has shifted from the investigation of technical and computational functions to materiality, aesthetics, wearablility, interaction, and experience of wearable prototypes. As the new design culture in wearable technology matures, we see a movement from prototypes to micro-entrepreneurship and micro-production. From the use of mass-market rapid prototyping technologies to online distribution channels, wearable technology designers are not only re-defining exactly what clothing is, but also how it is manufactured and distributed. Unlike production in traditional factories, the manufacturing process for wearable tech garments is typically flexible, open source, and organized around demand not production.
- Syuzi Pakhchyan is fashion technologist and author with a passion for beautiful code and conductive cloth. After receiving her BFA from UC Berkeley (US) and her MFA from the Art Center College of Design, she began a research-based design practice in 2006 focused on next generation wearable technologies. Author of “Fashioning Technology” the first DIY book on interactive fashion, Syuzi has also penned numerous articles on the creative practices of intelligent clothing. As a leading expert in her field, she chronicles the constantly evolving developments in wearable tech on her blog, while continuing to develop products that are both fashionable and culturally motivated. Her work has been exhibited at various conferences and events including Eyebeam, the Fashion Future Event, South by Southwest, Maker Faire and Emerging Technologies Conference. fashioningtech.com