for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

Integrating Technology into the Language of Fashion

Electronic Etherealism and Digital Perfume is a 2 day event in NYC starting today that will explore the intersections of fashion, technology and creativity, and promote a dialogue between a community of practitioners and thinkers on how to make electronics speak the language of fashion.

Interaction designer Despina Papadopoulos and critical design theorist Otto Von Busch organised the event because “We are interested in locating the juncture between fashion and technology and it is possible that perfume, which is also bottled mythology sitting on the crux of alchemy and science, can prove an effective conduit.”

The pair aim to explore alchemic practices of re-mystifying technology to merge it into the mythical world of fashion, bridging the two worlds. As they explain it- “Fashion & Technology seem to be two different logics and rarely are there any good examples of the two disciplines merging into successful alloys that reaches us as true fashion”.

During this weekend they intend to further the practical discussions on fashion and technology by moving it into another generation of thought, creating “a spiritual journey for technology exploring harmonies, magic and asymmetries in how we can see technology  in combination to fashion. If we understand fashion and cosmetics as something beyond consumer culture we might reach the mythical strengths of these disciplines to inject them into a mystical alloy of ethereal electronics or digital perfume.”

The busy programme starts this afternoon with lectures and discussions on perfume, essential etherealism and fashion mythology, technology, memory and process, followed by panel discussion & audience participation. Tomorrow’s all-day event includes workshops on brainstorming, concept building and electronics hacking as re-mystification (mutilate-modulate-mutate), a hands-on building session, and exploration into various ways to mimic or stimulate magical powers in electronics.

Advances in techno textiles and integrated clothing have yet to fully mature into products that live in the world of fashion, so an event that is aimed at understanding how to reach that goal should be invaluable for many brands. There’s a lot more information on their website, and hopefully much more will arrive after the event.

Filed under: creative ideas, technology

Dutch Design Award Winners 2006

Velina_volanteThe winners of the Dutch Design Awards 2006 have been announced and the resulting products are
impressive. Two designs in particular caught my eye, both great examples of combining beauty and practicality; Velina Volante by Jannita van den Haak and Heklucht by design studio HiMom.

Winner of the Public Prize 2006, Velina Volante-Travelling in Style is Jannita van den Haak’s graduate work from the Design Academy, Eindhoven. With inspiration from the elegant yet tough image of the twenties woman, Jannita has redeveloped the backpack into a sexy and elegant travel bag for the modern female traveller. A fusion of style, luxury and the reliability, the bag comes in shiny bronze and anthracite shades, is extendable through the pleated side pockets, and is made of breathable, high quality water-resistant fabric. The upper pocket can also be detached and reversed to transform into an evening/ handbag. Practical and chic, we love it.

Designstudio_himomWinner of the Product Public Space 2006 is Heklucht by Krijn Christiaansen & Jeroen Bruls from
DesignStudio HiMom. Street furniture that is a cross between an archetypical pump and a bicycle rack, Heklucht can currently be seen in eight locations across the Hague’s new development district of Ypenburg. The polished fabrication was chosen to invite use and touch, encouraging inhabitants to pump up their tyres, with the resulting product presenting itself as an elegant piece of design. Enough of the public displays of art, we need more good public design like this.
design studio HiMom

view all winners

Filed under: creative ideas,

Invisibility Cloaks?!

The LA Times reports on a new ‘invisibility cloak’ technology being
created by researchers at Duke University. The device works by bending
electromagnetic waves so that they flow around the object and hide it- Because none of the waves are reflected back at the observer, the object seems invisible.

Still in very early stages, the device currently only works in two
dimensions and with microwave radiation not visible light waves, so far
being able to cloak a copper cylinder about 0.4 inch tall. The
team is now building a version that will cloak an object the size of a
toaster in all three dimensions.

Although the cloaking effect may not work on a large scale, or may
require the user/ product to be painted all one colour, and despite
many other limitations, experts envision a variety of uses for the
technology. It could be used in communications, for example, to bend a wireless transmission around a building. It could also be used for focusing solar energy onto solar cells, and to protect sensitive devices from electromagnetic radiation.

read full article

Filed under: visions of the future

Pattern Language: Clothing as Communicator

pattern language

A travelling exhibition, Pattern Language  investigates clothing as expression and fulfillment of human needs and desires of the mind, body and soul. The work featured is from a range of international artists, designers, and collaborative teams who use clothing, fabric and the body to invent new forms of social and cultural communication and interaction between wearers and their clothes, and between the makers of clothing and the fashion system.

The exhibition is organized in six thematic categories that address aspects of the ways clothing and our relationship to it far exceed the traditional idea of providing shelter. The categories—The Everyman, Multi-Tasking, Container/Contained, (Un)Clothed, Construction/Creation,
and Identity—speak to how clothing shapes, covers, and sometimes even undoes us.

Having opened in Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA last September, it has since moved on to the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois and then to the University Art Museum at the University of California, before reaching it’s current destination- the Frederick R Weisman Museum at the University of Minnesota.

The Weisman’s presentation of Pattern Language: Clothing as
Communicator will also feature a number of programs to coincide with the issues and ideas raised by the works in the exhibition, including
an artist’s panel discussion moderated by the exhibition curator, a student fashion design competition judged by artists Gayla Rosenfeld, workshops, and a lecture by the leading fashion historian Dr Valerie Steele.

Showing the exhibition at a variety of universities is proving to be a very popular and really exciting way of involving an age group who use their clothing to communicate their preferences every day to think beyond slogans and brands and examine their choices more.

via Art Daily article
Pattern Language: Clothing as Communicator

PHOTO- Alba D’Urbano’s digital printed dresses ‘The Immortal Tailor’

Filed under: exhibition reviews


Zoo art fair opened it’s doors for the third year running in the great setting of London Zoo on friday (or thursday for some of us lucky few) to a huge surge of people eager to snap up new emerging artists’ work, and invest in the Next Big Thing.
Of the talent on display here is my pick of the new names that I think are worth watching for the future-


‘White Underneath’ are a collection of vintage portrait photographs from the late 1800s which the artist has painted over to replace the white face of the original sitter with a black one of a member of his family. He explains it as “experimenting with transgressive interventions on paintings as a means of undermining hierarchical roles of the past and imposing them on contemporary narratives”.

Titus has just graduated from Yale and been awarded the prestigious artist-in-residency programme from the Studio Museum, Harlem.


A recent graduate of Camberwell College of Art, ‘So How was It?’ is one of Robert’s delicate pencil works combining soft atmosphere with quirky humour. All four of his pieces have already sold, but look out for more offerings in his first solo show next year


‘Fiat Coupe 2.0 Turbo’ is just one of Raffael’s amazing photographs of crashed luxury cars. His pictures are observations of everyday objects and locations that have lost their original function- in this case taken live at the crash scene (the police call to notify him whenever a sports car crashes), and the resulting images seem hyper-real. Due to have his first solo gallery show in Berlin in November


‘Mental Passages’ is an installation of 54 typographical images, each one representative of the artist’s emotion at the time of conception. The artist is a recent graduate from his native Mexico and has already been picked up by the MOMA Mexico, plus there are plans to produce the images as a book. An ironic title considering the extortionate price tag on this piece- £5000!

Filed under: talent worth watching, Uncategorized, ,

The Future of Clothing?

clothing that arranges the body
Created by Industrial designer Hannah Perner-Wilson,  “Clothing that arranges the body” is a concept which visualizes her feelings towards our growing dependency on mobile technology, culminating in the production of a jacket that connects the flow of electricity between devices hidden in pockets around the body.

“This piece was inspired by the connection that clothing is capable of establishing between body and mind of the person inside, and is a result of reflecting the place our body occupies amid daily confrontation with cables, connections, the flow of electricity and digital information. Both the garment’s apearance and use play with this fact that we spend every day within close proximity of electronic
devices, within the flow of electricity around our bodies.”

The jacket is made up of pockets that connect their content with the
outside via the flow of electricity. Instead of regular plugs and
plugholes the electrical current flows through material magnetic
fastenings. A great idea, as long as you don’t mind the thought of all that voltage flowing through you!

Seen on Coolhunting
Clothing that arranges the body

Filed under: creative ideas

Is it Fashion or Art?

Img_0953Since when did fashion designers become acknowledged as fine artists? Spotted at Frieze Art Fair- ‘Portrait of a Performer’ by Hedi Slimane. For his first foray away from the fashion and photography collections for which he is known, Mr Dior Homme has produced the mirror piece seen here. A snip at $20,000, the work is an edition of three- two of which have already been sold. It just goes to show what people will buy when the right name is attached.

Filed under: my rants

But Is It Art?

Definitely a crowd pleaser- for the opening party at Frieze Art Fair Jay Jopling had taken the front section of his White Cube gallery space and created an artists studio where Jake and Dinos Chapman were hard at work turning out 30 minute portraits of anyone who wanted to pay £4,500 for the privilege. Img_0962

It looked like there were quite a few takers, but the process itself smacked to me of a clever marketing strategy that cheapened the art and played solely on the celebrity name of the artists. It did however raise the question of art returning to a historical patron/ commision basis, and as one dinner guest (and artist) remarked  – it was playing with the ‘grotesquery of the fair’ and making a point about the mass consumption of art leading to Frieze’s supermarket proportions.

Whatever it was, it was definitely a step up from the
30 minute portraits you usually get!!

Filed under: exhibition reviews

Frieze Art Fair

freize06Frieze Art Fair opened it’s doors again yesterday to an even larger space and more crowded affair than last year. Between the throngs of people sipping champagne and the unavoidable art-celeb-watching I managed to catch a quick look at some of the artworks!

The mood this time is more sombre and less energetic with lots of galleries choosing to show works with a serious message, such as Mark Wallinger’s ‘Painting of the Divide’. Text as art is playing an ever-increasing role and is on display in abundance, one of the strongest being ‘Oedipus’ by Jan Mancuska, although I was also a big fan of Candice Breitz’s pieces which combine photography and text with another key theme- mirrored backgrounds.

Other prevalant ideas shown are backlit and hyper-real photography, geometry in sculptural forms, the blurring boundaries of art and craft, and the use of black and blackened tones in painting and photography. I had to give up about half way through as the crowds got too insane, but more information and images will be posted later…

Freize 2006

freize 2006 02

freize 2006 03

freize 2006 03

freaize 2006 05

Filed under: exhibition reviews


finiching school for gents

There’s a great article in the inaugural issue of commons&sense man magazine on a new UK finishing academy for men offering a three-day training course on ‘the art of being a gentleman’.

Following the success of the ladies school, there have apparently been many male applicants keen to learn the art of good table manners, hosting skills, deportment, housecraft and the many other lectures offered, the aim of which is to “acquire mastery of how best to conduct yourself in a sophisticated fashion, whether in a business of leisure environment”.

Etiquette is most definitely on the rise so watch out- bowing and curtsying might become the new ‘have a nice day’!

The Finishing Academy

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,