Sabine Seymour is the CEO and Chief creative officer at Moondial and is also the Director of Fashionable Technology Lab, Parsons The New School For Design. To date she has written two books, Fashionable Technology (2008) and her newer title Functional Aesthetics (2010) on intersection of fashion and technology. Sabine’s recent project, the FTLab is a multi disciplinary lab that takes a human-centered approach to developing products.
Sabine’s main interests are the body and how we can influence our surroundings and each other by using our bodies. Her talk addressed themes of amplification of energy, harvesting energy around the body, wireless energy, and shape memory polymers.
Sabine stated that it is important to be aware of and use technology to enhance projects, products and ideas, but also to realise and have the understanding that that they are just a phase (like QR codes – cover of book).
Can we put systems in place within our smart fabrics that the technology that is integrated can become interchangeable as new developments are made.
This ensures the textile will not become obsolete when the technology does.
For people to truly accept and feel comfortable with these new technological advancements in Smart Fabrics, Sabine echoes Dr Oliver’s earlier point about “Trust” but also adding in a new insight that consumers need a story to understand a product. The product needs to have a value that the consumer will put faith and weight in and the context of the product should clearly convey the story (consumer needs this interpreted value).
Sabine has been working on a new project, Vitruvius, a trend forecasting magazine, which will merge the worlds of fashion, design, science and technology. This brings together all of her interests from design to economy, which she holds a PhD in.
She feels that the future of Smart Fabrics and Wearable Technologies will be in e-fitness, sportswear & functional work-wear. As while fashion garments with lighting are ‘cool’ where’s the longevity? Are these products just for costume or novelty use?
Sabine is essentially addressing the need for a level of maturation in the industry in order to bring products to market that have an obvious value proposition for the end user. Although she discredits illuminated fashion (yah it probably is a fad), each product needs to be viewed in its own context of use. In my opinion, light will be part of a designer’s palette in the future. Like any other material, it’s simply about how it’s used.
For the industry to develop unique and innovative products, the technology companies, whether dealing with material innovation or manufacturing, need to team up with product designers (yes I said product, not fashion alone) to design wearable tech products and their surrounding ecosystem.
On a small scale, we are already seeing this happen with collaborations between companies like Moon Berlin and Fraunhofer Institute IZM. On a commercial level, we have colaborations between NIke and Apple to develop the Nike+. The future of wearable tech IS collaborative in nature.
And please let’s all stop looking for a killer app…
What do you folks think?
Thanks to the lovely Joanne Hodge for her extensive notes and coverage.