[ISEA2011] Panel: Syuzi Pakhchyan – From Pro­to­types to Niche Pro­duc­tion: How the DIY Wear­able Tech Com­mu­nity is Craft­ing a New Fash­ion Rev­o­lu­tion

Panel Statement

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