COMP UTAT IONAL FASH ION Edited by Paul Amitai and Sabine Seymour
2014 Eyebeam. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License. ISBN: 978-1505723700
COMPUTATIONAL FASHION Topics in fashion and wearable technology
Edited by Paul Amitai and Sabine Seymour
COMPUTATIONAL FASHION FELLOW CARRIE MAE ROSE is a sculptor and installation artist exploring art, technology, fashion, and mysticism. She has exhibited at Brooklyn Museum and MoMA online project Design & Violence, and spoken at Microsoft and NY Hall of Science. Carrie Mae collaborated with Dan Steingart, Princeton University professor and battery expert to develop illuminated wearable sculptures. Image: Carrie Mae Rose, Bodycrowns, 3D printed wearable sculpture, Eyebeam exhibition, Light as a Feather, 2013.
CONTENTS Preface 1. Introduction to Computational Fashion
2. Fashion Innovations in 3D Printing Duann Scott, Shapeways Joris Debo, Materialise Bradley Rothenberg, designer Gabi Asfour, threeASFOUR
7 9 15 19
3. Smart Textiles: Fashion that Responds Bryce Beamer, Adidas Becky Stern, Adafruit Industries Genevieve Dion, Drexel University Juan Hinestroza, Cornell University
23 25 29 33 37
4. Fashion and the Body Ariele Elia, The Museum at FIT Titania Inglis, fashion designer Jamal Motlagh, Acustom Apparel
5. Energy on the Body Dan Steingart, Princeton University John Kymissis, Columbia University Amanda Parkes, Skinteractive Studio
67 69 75 83
6. Intellectual Property in Fashiontech 91 Jonathan Askin, Brooklyn Law School Nigel Howard, Covington & Burling Sarah Scaturro, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Liz Bacelar, Decoded Fashion Events Acknowledgements Credits
115 117 118
COMPUTATIONAL FASHION FELLOW KAHO ABE is a game designer who researches and builds digital games that are played in the physical world, face to face. She collaborated with KATHERINE ISBISTER, Director of the Game Innovation Lab at NYU Poly, to explore how wearable tech can act as both a game controller and costume, in order to create a more immersive game experience. Image: Kaho Abe, Lighting Bug Game, Eyebeam exhibition, 2013.
PREFACE PATRICIA C. JONES Executive Director, Eyebeam This publication celebrates and documents Eyebeam’s efforts over the past two years to bring together the fashion and technology industries – introducing each to the interests and needs of the other, this period we have seen the interest in wearable technology grow exponentially, from 3D printed fashion garments to Google Glass to possibilities between fashion, design, and science. Computational Fashion has worked to build this dialogue and has explored a wide range of topics in its panel discussions and presentations. These, together with our research collaborations, workshops, and exhibitions, have helped to develop a new community around shared interests. This coming year we are already planning to hold regular, informal meetups where practitioners can explore new developments; to expand our successful intensive workshop on 3D printed fashion, this and July; and to hold an international conference next fall on trends abreast of these and other activities in 2015 and beyond: www.fashion.eyebeam.org/about. This project would not have been possible without the support of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund. Their support allowed us to initiate a project that we think is critically important and relevant to the future of fashion in New York City and beyond. We believe that Computational Fashion is an important component of Eyebeam’s mission of supporting risk-taking and innovative work at the intersection of art and technology. We look forward to continu-
SABINE SEYMOUR is an entrepreneur and conceptual researcher focusing on the next generation of wearables and the intertwining of aesthetics and function in our â€œsecond skinâ€?. She is considered an and author of the highly acclaimed book, Fashionable Technology.
Image: Billy Dang, Hillary Sampliner & Andrea van Hintum, Poseidon, 3D printed wearable made during Computational Fashion Master Class, 2014. Photo: Christine A. Butler
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL FASHION SABINE SEYMOUR Chair, Computational Fashion Founder and CEO, Moondial and Moonlab Assistant Professor, Fashionable Technology, Parsons The New School for Design The premise of Eyebeam’s Computational Fashion initiative is to merge Silicon Alley and the Garment District – an inherently inquiry. By bringing together fashion and technology industries, our core objective is to connect communities who have rarely interacted. Much can be learned from the process and methods of both designers and startup entrepreneurs. The initiative is rooted in the fact that new companies are emerging, where fashion, science, and technology are part of the business’ DNA rather than an afterthought. Computational Fashion is conceived as a creative incubator to bring science and technology to the fashion industry through inter- and cross-disciplinary collaboration. This cross-fertilization is seeding and will result in groundbreaking developments in fashion integrating wearable technology. Eyebeam acts create hybrid connections. This hybridization is essential to create inventions applicable to an industry that has been intertwined with technology and science since the invention of the Jacquard punched card loom or the commerciali-
Technology-infused garments are an up-and-coming market, ranging from function-focused work wear and sporting apparel to the emotion-driven fashion realm. Consumer products with integrated sold since the early 2000s; Burton’s Analog Jacket was launched in
2003, Nike’s Commvest in 2003, and the Adidas Adistar Fusion shirt in 2006. While these particular products were only on the market for a short period of time and mostly purchased by early adopters, they are a testament to the need for functionalities only possible through wearable technology.
wearable technology is cheap, small, and reliable enough, we can expect mainstream consumers to adopt the products. Since the breakthrough of Nike+ Fuelband in 2007 and the recent announcement of the Apple Watch, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the
I would, however, refrain from using wearable technology as a term for all clothing and accessories that encorporate technological components. As an analogy, consider the car. Over the last few decades, the car has become more of a computer, but I still only buy a car, not a “drivable computer”. I wear clothing. It just so happens that my bra workout pants have an integrated muscle stimulator, and my T-shirt lights up when I dance. It is still just clothing. Computational Fashion attempts to bridge the gap between technological advances and their practical application in the fashion and garment industry in general. Eyebeam, as a center for both artists and technologists, is bridging this gap and serves as a convener, facilitator, and problem-solver. We can already see that ideas explored during this initiative are rippling out to educational institutions, artist studios and science labs through to the design houses, to manufacturers, and eventually to new customers. Computational Fashion is timely and essential, and future explorations are planned to grow this project, which is still in its infancy.
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL FASHION
Eyebeam has a distinctive edge to pioneer breakthroughs in wearable technologies -- its illustrious alumni range from Ayah Bdeir (littleBits) and Limor Fried (Adafruit Industries) to Zach Lieberman (openFrameworks), and the Computational Fashion board of advisers includes thought leaders from both the fashion and technology industries, as well as university research labs, independent design studios, and digital manufacturers. The research and public program initiative has become a hub for knowledge transfer, interdisciplinary discussion, and networking. Computational Fashion has supported four interdisciplinary research fellowships that brought together collaborative teams from media art, game design, fashion, engineering, and social science.
and installation artist Carrie Mae Rose collaborated with Dr. Dan Steingart, an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace ible, printed alkaline batteries, to develop the Bodycrowns project. Dan and a team of graduate researchers built custom, lightweight fabric and wire batteries that were integrated into Carrie Maeâ€™s 3D printed wearable structures to power LED lights, stretchy sensors, and circuits. Also in 2012-13, artist and game designer Kaho Abe collaborated with Dr. Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, to explore from the user experience perspective how wearable technology can act as both game controller and costume, to create a far richer, more immersive game. Kaho and a group of university students built and designed Lightning Bug Game, a two-player game environement that utilizes embedded technology in wearable controllers to enhance game play and playful interaction.
In 2013-14, DuKode Studio was awarded an honorary Fellowship to continue to develop MindRider, a brain-reading bike helmet system that generates new kinds of health data and health sense-making at the individual and regional scale. The team of Arlene Ducao, Illias Koen, and Josue Diaz experimented with 3D printing, lasercutting, and weaving techniques to create a more aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic wearable. 2013-14 Fellow Keren Oxman studied the development of generative textile morphologies through experimental multi-material 3D printing for Specimens; she consulted with professors Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab and Craig Carter of MIT Department of Material Sciences. While at Eyebeam, Keren also lent her expertise to the development of the Computational Fashion Master Class in 3D Fellowsâ€™ projects were exhibited at Eyebeam in October 2013, while projects developed during the Master Class were showcased in September 2014 at Hotel Particulier. From panel discussions and presentations to workshops and demo nights, Computational Fashionâ€™s public programs have been a critical outlet to explore the variety and complexity of developing products with wearable technology. For example, Bryce Beamer, a product developer from Adidas, presented the performance tracking miCoach Elite Team System at the Smart Textiles event, and Joris Debo, creative director at Materialise, discussed how the 3D print manufacturer has been working in collaboration with fashion designer Iris van Herpen on her groundbreaking 3D printed dresses.
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL FASHION
Both of these presentations underscored the paradigm shifts already taking place today, in which designers and coders are co-opting software tools and hacking fabrication methods to produce results that could have never been predicted from the manufacturing side. The evolution of production tools, methods, and shared languages across design, technology, and manufacturing is also spurring unexpected creative and entrepreneurial opportunities. Computational Fashion is shedding light on these emerging patterns while functioning as a conduit for boundary-crossing creative research. The initiative seeks to inspire and educate in New York and worldwide. Integrating technology more deeply and artfully into fashion will provide new ways to be expressive and social. This publication brings together many of the conversations we have hosted over the past two years, and we hope it might inform and inspire others to push the boundaries of Computational Fashion further.
FASH ION INNOV ATIONS IN 3D PRINT ING
FASHION INNOVATIONS IN 3D PRINTING February 27, 2013 From the runway to the hackerspace, 3D printing and digital fabrication tools are an increasingly important part of the creative the work of designers such as Iris van Herpen (in collaboration with Daniel Widrig and Neri Oxman, among others), Francis Bitonti (with Michael Schmidt Studios), and threeASFOUR (with Bradley Rothenberg), 3D printed fashion has generated broader public notoriety in recent years, albeit through highly conceptual haute couture pieces rather than ready to wear fashion garments. Nonetheless, these experiments in digitally fabricated materials for the body have sparked a great deal of interest and the seeds of innovation in computational design for wearables. Architects like Widrig, Bitonti, and Rothenberg are proving to be a critical link in these collaborations with fashion designers, combining their skills in 3D modeling software and generative programbringing it to fashion to produce garments that are both highly complex and rapidly customizable. This complexity and customization would not be possible without access to the high resolution printing capabilities of manufacturers such as Shapeways and Materialise who have been working with all of the aforementioned designers to make their ideas possible. The following presentations highlight some of these unique collaborations taking place between fashion designers, coders, and manufacturers, as Duann Scott (Shapeways), Joris Debo (Materialise), Bradley Rothenberg, and Gabi Asfour (threeASFOUR) discuss how 3D printing is impacting the design and manufacturing processes, while also offering new business models for independent designers and entrepreneurs. â€“ Paul Amitai
DUANN SCOTT is a designer, researcher and writer who for the past decade has concentrated on the democratization of design through digital fabrication. He has been recognized for his role at Shapeways in bringing 3D printing out of the back rooms of consciousness.
Image: Continuum Fashion, N12, 3D printed bikini (detail). Developed in partnership with Shapeways.
DUANN SCOTT Design Evangelist, Shapeways Shapeways is an online 3D printing marketplace, community, and service. We’re based in New York City, and have manufacturing facilities in New York and Eindhoven. We make anything you want, if you design it, and you can also sell it as well. We’re an online presence, so we’re easy to get to (shapeways.com), and we have about 220,000 users who we make things for every day. We have about 8,000 shop owners who sell their designs, and we have printed millions of objects over the past four years. How Shapeways works is if you have an idea, you design it in your CAD software of choice or customize something. You upload it to Shapeways, you choose the material. As soon as you upload your design to Shapeways, you’ll know how much it costs in each material. You send us some money, we’ll make it for you, and send it to your door no matter where you are in the world. The other great thing is we have a marketplace where you can sell your designs. If another person wanted to buy your design, we take the money off the buyer, we manufacture on demand, ship it directly to the buyer, and send
What is 3D printing? It’s a way of manufacturing products additively. Instead of a block of wood being chopped away at to reveal a form, we make a thing layer by layer. There’s a few different processes which fall under the 3D printing term of “additive manufacturing”. uid into a solid. There’s FDM, where a hot glue gun basically squirts out plastic to make a solid. There’s powder-based printing, where a layer of powder is glued together to make a 3D form layer by layer. And there’s digital light processing, where a gel is cured by UV light to solidify that material.
Basically in all these processes you’re building things up layer by layer. Some of the materials that are available that we offer, include nylon, stainless steel, ceramics, and also full color. One of the great things about 3D printing is complexity is free, which means you can make anything you want, it doesn’t matter how complex it is, there’s no additional cost. With traditional manufacturing, any time you add any little bit of complexity, any features, any other design complexity, there’s always additional cost. With 3D printing, that’s free because the machine doesn’t know what it’s doing, it just does what it’s told, which means you can do amazing things, which would otherwise be impossible. One example is the Strandbeest, which is based on a design by Theo Jansen. This is based on a kinetic sculpture and has about 17 moving parts, and it comes out of the machine fully assembled, fully articulated. What that means is you can do anything you want because you’re not constrained by manufacturing processes. All these items come straight out of the machine, so interlocking things like a weave or a fabric is possible, architectural type forms, which fall over themselves is possible, and they come out of the machine just as they are, so there’s not no need for assembly. You can just design exactly what you need. Because complexity is free, customization is free as well. Because you can make one that’s made of triangles or squares or hexagons or circles, and there’s no change in the price because it’s all about how much material is used. That means you can modify a design for them. There’s an app by Nervous System (design studio) where you can customize their Cell Cycle jewelry. Nervous System grow their designs, they write algorithms to make the form, and when they’re happy with the form, they press pause and print. They’ve also made it possible for you to modify those designs, so you can grab nodes and move them around. You can interact with the form, and when you’ve got a design you like, you can press pause and print.
FASHION INNOVATIONS IN 3D PRINTING
Having something made especially for you has no additional cost because the machine doesn’t know what it’s doing, it just knows where to lay down the material, and so we can make things customized for free. If you make 1000, which are exactly the same, or 1000 that are different, there’s no change in the price. There’s no mass quantity discount and there’s no minimum order. You get exactly what you need. With that, supply meets demand. If you want one of an object, we print one and send it to you. If you need seven, we print seven and send it to you. If you need 107, we print 107 and send it to you, which means you can take a product to market with no risk. If you design let’s say an octopus ring and you think it’s going to sell okay, you don’t need to buy 100 to get a minimum order quantity to take it to market. You put it online on Shapeways or other websites where you can sell something on demand, and each time someone wants to buy it, we’ll take the money off the buyer, we make it on demand, and send it directly to them. The designer doesn’t have to invest in any product up front, which means they don’t have 99 octopus rings under their bed in two years’ time if they don’t sell. It means
In the last 100 years, everything’s been mass produced, and when you mass produce something, you make it for everybody. When you make it for everybody, you make it for nobody because you have to they want. With 3D printing, there’s ways to customize things so it
will be more and more apps to make this easier in the future. Currently you have to learn how to design and you have to learn how to use CAD or use some sort of interface. There’s more and more apps developed now to make that easy for people. For those who can’t already 3D model, which is a barrier to entry for 3D printing, there’s always collaboration. We’ve seen lots and lots of collaborations on Shapeways in which people have found a 3D mod-
eler on Shapeways to make their ideas real. This shoe designer from Belgium had these wild sketches, she wanted to do these shark-like, gothic sort of shoes. She found a CAD modeler on Shapeways in the forums, they worked together across the Internet, the designer in Belgium, the CAD modeler in New York, they worked on Skype, they did screen sharing, and they came up with this beautiful design and they got a lot of press, they did really well. Even though she didn’t know how to model, she had the idea, she found some connection to make it work. Similarly, there’s an example of a biomimicry shoe based on a bird skull. The designer had the concept, but she couldn’t model it, so she connected with somebody else. This is one of the real important things about embracing a new technology – instead of just coming up against this wall of not being who knows, who has the CAD skills, connect with them. Because often the people with CAD skills don’t always have the aesthetic ability to make these bold decisions. An artist and a CAD guy working together can get amazing results. The other thing we’re starting to see, and we need to be pushed by the technology, is 3D printed textiles. We printed a bikini a few years back, which is basically a 3D printed nylon that functions like a digital fabric. First they made a 3D model of the body shape they wanted to go on, then they made a circle packing algorithm so that there was a small area, they made a tight circle so it could go around curves better, like a more intelligent fabric. Instead of it being a to the body. The materials can be more intelligent. They can be processed to be exactly what you need. It doesn’t have to just to be a purely aesthetic thing. It could be functional. Let’s say someone needed something with reinforcement somewhere, we want to make a bikini with some sort of support, you can make that form happen through geometry, through the material
FASHION INNOVATIONS IN 3D PRINTING
properties, not just about adding different things to make it happen. This is very early days for 3D printed textiles. We see a lot of experiments in fashion and Joris Debo will show some awesome examples that Materialise have done. What needs to happen is we need to look at these materials now and what’s available and think about how we want things to happen and force the 3D printing manufacturers to
It’s a way to move away from the sweatshop and into the machine age. It’s something that hasn’t happened yet for clothes and the time is now. The 3D printed bikini is a basic form, it’s just taking an
We don’t always know to reinvent something. We need you to think of how can we use this material, how can we use this free complexity. How can we use this customization to bring 3D printing into fashion?
JORIS DEBO is a creative director of Materialise, a leading 3D printing provider. His work for MGX by Materialise is exported globally, has received the Good Design and Red Dot Design awards, and is featured in museums, including MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Image: Iris Van Herpen & Daniel Widrig, 3D printed dress, 2010. In collaboration with Materialise. Photo: Shamila @ Eric Elenbaas
JORIS DEBO Creative Director, Materialise I work for Materialise here in New York. Our focus is mainly additive manufacturing, similar to Shapeways, but we’re also working on different things. Within the company we have three different divisions. We create our own software, we make our own machines, very large-scale 3D printing machines up to seven feet in length. We have two divisions that make up the consumer division, MGX and i.materialise. i.materalise is like Shapeways – an online platform – and MGX is the brand of Materialise that’s focusing on interior goods, lighting, furniture, etc, on a high end level and a mid level. I’m Creative Director for MGX and I’m also working for AMS, which is a service to the art, fashion, and automotive industries. I’m here in New York focusing on art, design, and fashion, anything that’s new.
2003 it was really a test as to what can be done with the technology. It was only used for prototyping and it was something new, so we did a test with lighting. It worked out quite well, and we continued with high-end furniture that went to galleries, museums. For us, it was a very good test to understand the technology and how we could use it as an end user product. I’m also working for AMS mainly on design, art, and fashion-related projects. Design can be everything from editions, furniture, shop windows, etc. Everything is mainly custom, unique pieces, small series, always a focus that the end product is not a prototype anymore but a functional object. My main market is the art market. Lots of clients here in New York use our technology for art pieces.
Fashion is a very interesting industry for us because you don’t really combine 3D printing with fashion textiles. But we started to look for collaborations. In 2008 we started collaborating with Iris van Herpen, a Dutch-based designer, and the idea was really to break the boundaries of fashion. In the beginning, it was a research project – what can be done with a fashion designer? We combined the forces of an architect with a fashion designer, in this case, Daniel Widrig and Iris van Herpen, and we really started playing with the technology. We were experimenting with the materials, and we tried to look for new aesthetics that were not really common in fashion.
starting from the design, not the material, but the design itself. We started experimenting with body scans, so we scanned the model and then we created almost like a sculpture. It’s not really wearable – it’s not something that you can sit on a chair. But it shows you what the version of an epoxy. You can get very detailed, intricate designs. These pieces were shown on “haute couture” runway, it’s not accessible for everybody. The last dress we printed for Iris van Herpen is can really sit on a chair, walk around. I challenge you to break it. For a 3D printed material, it is very uncommon that you can really play around with a material like that. I think this is very exciting for new wave of products for fashion, design, art, etc. So how are we going to bridge the gap? The second wave, I think, is what’s possible. You could put a kind of fabric over an epoxy. In this
as mirror polishing, a chemical process from silver nitrate in which
FASHION INNOVATIONS IN 3D PRINTING
the object comes out of the tank completed with a mirror polish look. You can already see the applications for fashion accessories. The same with metal plating, we can create small coatings of metal, nickel, gold, silver over an epoxy piece, plastic pieces, metal pieces. These are all inventions that come from automotive / aeronautic industry that we try to implement in other markets. But at this moment in time, I would like to be an advocate for using 3D printing together with another technology, because then you can create really functional objects that have an added value. think Bradley Rothenberg is one of these people. This is, again, very important. File generation is almost a new craft. There are lots of importance of that, but there are only a few people that can create a
What are the realistic applications for this? For the moment, you can print jewelry in high-res stainless steel, titanium, gold, sterling silver, ceramics. Jewelry is one of these markets that’s already established. Another market is shoes. I wouldn’t be a big fan of printing the shoe in one piece because it’s not really wearable. What did – they created a piece of a soccer shoe that was made through 3D printing technology and it’s actually made the shoe better. You can much better idea to combine technologies in this case. The same for accessories, I think accessories are a big market, and it’s just a question of time. When I say a question of time, it’s a question of months everything you can think of.
BRADLEY ROTHENBERG is a designer focused on making 3D printed fashion a viable and accessible reality. He works with cutting-edge fashion brands to produce 3D printed garments. GABI ASFOUR is a designer and co-founder of fashion collective, threeASFOUR.
Image: threeASFOUR & Bradley Rothenberg, digital rendering of 3D printed dress from MER KA BA collection, 2014.
BRADLEY ROTHENBERG Architect / Designer
GABI ASFOUR Designer and Co-Founder, threeASFOUR Bradley: I’ve been working with threeASFOUR (fashion design studio) for the last six to eight months on a 3D printed textile project. We wanted to research and look at new ways to use the 3D printer to develop fashion. So to understand fashion, we have to understand what makes a fabric. We looked at different weaving systems. The twill weave and the silk weave can both be used to produce different types of textiles that involve movement. Then we have knitted patterns as well – the boucle knit, the crochet, the lace, and the layered weave. Then we started to generate our own weaving patterns, our own version of a weave based off of a single component of a triangle and a ring that weave to generate a fabric. Our interest mainly with using the 3D printer is to create these fabrics that could move. When we’re making the weave, we’re trying stretch, rather than just making it an inanimate object or a piece of sculpture for the body. We’re looking at the single component, which is a triangle, and then using the process of transposition, taking a single component, basing it on the triangle in a ring to make these woven structures. The woven structure can be made out of a single element, weaving around, or multiple elements crossing that would allow the fabric to generating fabrics with a 3D printer using a system of tiling. Once you have a weave, how do you start to array that weave? You can
use a tiling system, another mathematical system. With the tiling system, we started with a structural idea. When you’re using a 3D printer, all products that get printed in a 3D printer are printed of triangles. Thinking of the triangle, this relates to sacred geometry, something that Gabi has been very interested in and the two of us have really wanted to see how sacred geometries can relate to what we’re doing. If we use the logic of sacred geometries of the Metatron cube, it allows us to grow these systems in multiple directions, which is great because then we can create a fabric that not only stretches in two directions or four directions like spandex or nylon, but we can generate a fabric that stretches in six directions. This is the Metatron logic. Another thing about the Metatron cube is that it can contain all of the Platonic solids, all of the shapes that make structural forms that one would normally think of. If we take these forms and then make a component that could kind of interlock off of that, we can generate a fabric, an array, a fabric that has real fabric properties, that can stretch, it can move in multiple directions. This is using hard materiwe’ve been using allows. How do we change scales? Say we want fabric to be bigger in some sections, smaller in others, we can use the logic of Fibonacci, which allows us to control the scale of these components, the scale of the weave as well. By changing the scale of the fabric, we can generate fabrics that kind of puff out in certain areas, maybe they become tighter, maybe you want a fabric that can keep you warmer, contains more air, and maybe you want a fabric that’s thinner. We really want to work with the properties of these textiles and change them. In the 3D modeling world, we can represent anything with triangles. All these models are just triangles fed into the machine and then built layer by layer. If we start to array these compo-
FASHION INNOVATIONS IN 3D PRINTING
nents around that body, we can generate a weave around the body that has the same properties that a fabric typically would have. Gabi: In terms of technology, we’re dealing with movement. Material is extremely important. The weave is the main thing that we feel that we should focus on because from there you can go anywhere. If we build a solid weave that can change into different properties through the geometry and through the materials, then we can do something that is extremely advanced just by changing the weave. What matters is that there’s a concentration of geometry where you have joints, where you have movement – elbow and wrists, knees. There’s all this geometry that’s coming from the anatomy of the body, which is sacred geometry, that needs to be considered when you’re making something. You cannot really avoid that because otherwise it would not be functional. Bradley: I think when it becomes really interesting is when you can start applying the same type of genetic algorithms that we’re writing, the same type of substitution systems that we’re running, starting to work with nanotechnology and starting to grow these systems on a nano scale so that you can start to really emulate skin. I think really to sum up what we’re trying to do is generate a second skin, something that has the same properties of skin that can really
Gabi: I think what we’re dealing with is an area where anything’s possible. You can customize it to whatever you want it to do. The works with interlocking units that function individually. They’re all free from each other, kind of like one makes the whole and the whole makes the one. We work with weaving, layering weaving, and weaving and interlocking, anything is possible. It’s kind of overwhelming how many things you can do.
SMART TEX TILES
SMART TEXTILES: FASHION THAT RESPONDS May 1, 2013
and embedded into the very fabric of the things we wear, creating clothing that is more responsive to our ever changing personal needs and environmental conditions. Spurred in part by academic and industry collaborations, smart textiles are beginning to enter the consumer market to enhance interactive properties within a garment. As with activity tracking devices like Nike+ FuelBand and Fitbit ness and sportswear companies have been at the forefront of pushing wearable tech to the market, thus far focusing primarily on accessories such as watches and wristbands. The Polo Tech Shirt, a recent collaboration between Ralph Lauren and OMsignal launched at the 2014 US Open, is a notable departure in its relatively seamless integration of electronics into an athletic shirt. But looking a little further down the road, advancements in textiles both materials and electronics on the body. Your clothes may soon provide heating and cooling capabilities, vitamin dissemination through the fabric, pollution protection, or color-changing properties. The following presentations offer a few possibilities within this growgroup of designers and scientists working in cutting edge textile research and production. â€“ Paul Amitai
BRYCE BEAMER is an industrial designer developing wearable electronics at Adidas. He has previously worked in research and development for textiles, embedded electronics, and medical implants. Bryce also teaches courses in interactive prototyping at Philadelphia University.
Image: Adidas miCoach Elite Team System, digital rendering of Player Cell and TechFit Elite Shirt, 2013.
BRYCE BEAMER Senior Manager Apparel Development, Adidas I’m going to talk to you about some work that I’ve done with Adidas and some of the things I’ve learned along the way. I was hired because I’m a maker and a builder. As I imagine a lot of you are coming from that same kind of background, there’s an approach that you take to prototyping and some of those skills are really great as far as bringing products to market. So I’m going to talk a little bit about where that’s an advantage and some of the problems that we’ve run into along the way. The miCoach Elite Team System is something that I’ve been working on for two years, but the project’s gone on much longer than that. It’s a system that allows coaches, players, and trainers to look at their player’s performance and become faster, stronger and smarter. The goal was to make the system very easy to use, so that the players and trainers could then work on iPads and directly see the actual results of the data that we were providing. It helps trainers track the total training impact, it provides accurate, real-time insights to the market in providing that performance. Inside the system, we’re tracking position, speed, distance, heart rate, acceleration, and deceleration. Derived from that, we also get consists of a couple different devices. There’s the TechFit Elite shirt, a garment that’s designed to assist in taking the heart rate as well as holding the player cell in position on each of the players. Each player has a player cell mounted in their garment. Then we have the base station, which is used to process all the data from the pods, and then share that data with iPads and also to our web server.
Each of the pods uses a RF signal to send the data to the base station. The base station uses some of our custom algorithms to then take that massive amount of data and really turn it into something that the coaches and trainers can understand. So we use colors as well as zones to show the trainers relative performance between players who have different athletic metrics. This has all been synced to the web so that the trainers can look at changes over time. They can run the same drill, practice after practice, and look at the overall performance of the player over time, so it’s a huge advantage in training. The TechFit Elite shirt provides some core functionality to the entire system. It serves as the compression base layer, it serves as a scaffold for the heart rate harness, and it allows you to reduce the noise and get a real clear signal from the player’s heart rate. The way that the shirt is engineered, it allows the pod to stay in place which is key as far as using the accelerometer data from the pod. The core goals are to create usable metrics out of these mountains of data, educate and inform the coach, and improve the players. In producing this product, one of the primary keys is the functionality. With consumer garments, we’re looking at the long-term life. In addition to that function, you’re looking for robustness. Can it be donned and doffed and can it be used in the wear and tear of a normal athlete. We test these shirts to perform on the athlete through their exercise sessions, but we also test that through wash cycles.
into because athletes come in all shapes and sizes. That’s one of the key problems that we have, especially when working with heart rate sensors, getting the proper location, and also maintaining that close body contact that’s required for our compression garments. When you’re working in an area like smart textiles, you’re really shooting from the hip in a lot of ways. Manufacturers aren’t used to
SMART TEXTILES: FASHION THAT RESPONDS
producing things like what you all will be creating. It’s not predictable in many ways, and there are some inherent risks. You’ll notice looking for components that might be used in different industries for completely different purposes. We go to vendors and we say, “Could we have a couple hundred of these, but could you make them out of this? Are you willing to coat them in this magic sauce that we have?” For our manufacturing partners, we always look for somebody that says, “Yes, and ...”. We’re really looking for manufacturing and development partners that say not only can we provide the thing that you’re looking for, but can we also go one step further and kind of achieve a further goal with you. Interactive concept development is determined by how you work together with your team, so we’re looking at a variety of different specialties in producing a system like this. When we’re working from the garment perspective it’s important to have close ties with our electronics team to make sure that we’re developing on a path that makes sense together. We also tend to develop in parallel paths, so when we see strength in a solution, we don’t then go full-bore necessarily on one direction. We often take multiple paths because when you’re working in an innovative area such as smart textiles, you often hit walls along the way. Although you may have started with
The last thing we try to do is link in with the other team members as issues of compatibility between say the electronics team and the garthat you can get these prototypes made, the sooner they can start to
BECKY STERN is the Director of Wearable Electronics at Adafruit. In her work, she combines textiles with electronics, and helps develop the Adafruit FLORA wearable Arduino-compatible product line. She is also a member of Madagascar Institute and the internet-based group Free Art & Technology (FAT).
Image: Becky Stern, GEMMA Hoop Earrings, 2013. Courtesy of Adafruit.com.
BECKY STERN Director of Wearable Electronics, Adafruit Industries Adafruit Industries is an electronics kit company here in New York. We make tutorials, kits, and open source devices that allow curious tinkerers to create the gadgets of their dreams while learning about the principals behind how all of our favorite gadgets actually work. I focus on wearable electronics that beginners can make at home. We source, and test all kind of conductive textiles, and bring what we think are the best quality materials to the customers of our online store. We like to think of ourselves as an educational tutorial company with a gift shop at the end.
spool of silver plated nylon from a guy in Canada who repairs fencing equipment, and started stitching this light reactive, sound emitting embroidery. After about a year of shipping this thing around the globe to be in different e-textile exhibitions, the silver plating on the nylon thread started to tarnish. What used to carry electricity throughout the circuit now no longer does so. It was very sad, and there was nothing I could do to repair it. I was in grad school at the time when I made this with a bunch of sculptors who were making things out of metal, and we all wanted to make archival quality work that stands the test of time. For me this was a heart breaking experience, and very memorable. It drove me to work hard to put together an ecosystem of great hardware and conductive textiles to allow imaginative fashion designers, and artists, and at home crafters to make really robust, functional garments and accessories that sense the world around them, or
It reinforced the importance of documentation to me, because some of my earlier works now only exist online as pictures and videos.
Every week at Adafruit I make a new tutorial, including one about conductive thread that we carry now at Adafruit – stainless steel conductive thread that doesn’t tarnish. We show what each of the three kinds we carry looks like up close. We have a thin one, a medium one, and then a yarny one that will match your clothes. We also describe what the electrical properties are, such as showing you how much resistance there is. The main difference between wire and conductive thread is that conductive thread has nontrivial resistance, meaning it drops power along its length, unlike a solid piece of copper wire. We also show you how to make circuits with it, how to prevent it from coming unraveled using every ladies’ best friend, clear nail polish. We offer special tips to watch out for if you’re a beginner, like making sure your sensors aren’t too far away from your microcontroller so that you don’t drop signal. You can put a bobbin of conductive thread in your sewing machine and stitch circuits with plain thread through the top, but that doesn’t mean you can always avoid using traditional electronics tools when the projects get bigger and more complicated. What is so interesting to me about wearables is that you can combine any number of traditional crafts like embroidery and sewing with common electronics construction methods like soldering to make modular circuits. Another thing that conductive thread is really good for is making innovative switches. For example, a zipper switch that’s triggered when the metal zipper pull passes by and hits two little pads of conductive thread. It sends an electrical signal that triggers a device in an existing Adafruit kit called the TV-B-Gone, which you can hold in your hand like a remote. But I was going into restaurants and using it a lot, and I wanted a more subtle way to be able to turn the televisions off as I removed my jacket to sit down to eat.
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We also do some projects with conductive fabric. I’ll get lots of samour store. We also carry one woven conductive fabric right now, but soon two kinds of knit conductive fabric that are useful for making all kinds of sensors and switches. For instance, I used a capacitive touch sensing circuit to change the color of an LED when I come in contact with the fabric.
capacitives inducted by your body to make this fabric and plush game controller. It has conductive fabric buttons, and it’s connected to our FLORA main board, which is our Arduino-compatible wearables platform with built-in USB support. All you have to do is plug it into the computer and you can play your favorite NES emulators. Then when you are done you can unplug it and throw it on your couch and have a nice plush toy. It’s our goal at Adafruit to provide fun do-it-yourself projects that allow enthusiastic novices to make radically custom wearable electronics projects that bring their imaginations to life.
GENEVIEVE DION is a designer with a background in bespoke clothing and industrial design. Her research focuses on identifying production methods that advance high performance textiles. Her collections have been sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys and her work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Image: 3D model for bellyband Courtesy of Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory, Drexell University, 2014.
GENEVIEVE DION Assistant Professor and Director Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory, Drexel University In the last few years I’ve been looking at how we can take wearable technology and do customized manufacturing. But I’m also interested in moving beyond one-of-a-kind types of garments. What we’ve been looking at is manufacturing garments that are embedded with technology. Can the garment become the actual device? My dream is to have nothing hard on it and no batteries that need to be put into the garment, no small pod that needs to go into the pocket. We asked ourselves what tools can we use in order to make garments as devices, and then how do you go from a prototype to a real product. We decided to examine knitting as our technology. Knitting, as many of you know, is a series of loops. Depending on how you arrange your loops, you can create just about any shape. It struck us to be a very versatile production method and may be one that we could look at in order to integrate technology into our textiles. What we loved about knitting and the industrial knitting machine is that one cone of yarn can allow you to make a garment. That means it’s a lot simpler than a weaving machine, for example. A loom would require an enormous setup, while a knitting machine does not. It’s complicated to run, but you can experiment at the craft level with needle and thread. You can knit your garment, and then with some help you can translate that into the industrial knitting process. You can go from craft to high tech design. The machines are quite complex. They can bring just one cone of yarn, but they can also put together several different cones of yarn. That means I can knit with one particular color, I can knit a pattern, but then what can I bring? I can bring my smart yarn into my
Depending on how you arrange your loops you can do different kinds of shapes and textures. You can do a lot of geometry, so it’s extremely versatile in the way that you can explore any shape at all. We also play with the particular types of structure where we can add conductive yarn and do different types of knit structures. We have four machines in the lab that were donated by Shima Seiki for us to explore and push the boundaries of what this equipment can do. We have a small machine that specializes in gloves and socks, another one that specializes in what we call intarsia. It can bring 28 differgarment machine, which can create a garment without any seams at all. Each of them have an advantage, and through the exploration of what we’re trying to do, we decide which machine is best to test what we’re doing with it. Knitting is an old type of production, but with the advancements of digital fabrication we can design in the computer and simulate the cloth. Through the software of Shima Seiki we are able to make garments digitally and then fabricate them exactly as they will be. The fact that we have that and we’re pushing that, I’m really determined to work with Shima and the technicians who don’t always understand the digital fabrication of the equipment to bring this old fabrication method into the 21st century. One of the garments that we are working on is called a Smart Fabric Bellyband. We felt this was a good area to start to design our I really would love to make the fancy dress that transforms, but in order to get there we need to solve some basic problems here in the wearable technology arena. We discovered that trying to get a grant to develop the most beautiful garment you’ve ever seen and that
It’s a little bit easier to think about a garment that could be a medical device, and that medical device will allow us to develop the tech-
SMART TEXTILES: FASHION THAT RESPONDS
nology that we need in order to push forward the technology. Then that technology, hopefully, eventually will trickle down to all of us that want to use it. They’re really great projects and great problems to try and solve, and it can help many people. In some ways, it’s a win-win situation. We’re working with an OB-GYN and our team of engineers to try and replace the current medical devices. If any of you have been pregnant, you’ve experienced perhaps this particular bellyband. It hasn’t changed for maybe 20 years. It’s the standard. The newest device – a telemetry device, as far as I’m concerned – still feels very cumbersome and not that comfortable. We designed a bellyband that could wirelessly transmit information that could be comfortable and enable greater mobility. Can we really make a smart garment to do that? We worked with conductive yarn. We had our engineers test it. We’re using digital fabrication with our ally whether it’s going to work as a concept. Then we move on to turn this digital fabrication into a knitting. We’re also looking into making battery and supercapacitors as part per capacitor into the garment. We are using the Shima Seiki as that particular method of production, and what we love about the Shima system is that we can design small samples to see if it will work. We mass produced and tested them, and then turned it into a larger garment. Once we have our supercapacitor working properly, we can move it into an actual shirt. It really does take a multidisciplinary team to do all of this. Being able to do the digital fabrication is really helping us communicate between engineers and artists and designers to get to the concept that we want to get to.
JUAN HINESTROZA is director of The Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at Cornell University, where he works on understanding fundamental phenomena at the nanoscale that are of relevance to recognized for pioneering work in exploring new pathways for creat-
Image: Olivia Ong, garment with metallic nanoparticles. Collaboration with Juan Hinestroza & Hong Dong, Cornell University, 2007.
JUAN HINESTROZA Associate Professor of Fiber Science and Director of Graduate Studies, Cornell University I am not a designer. I’m trained as a chemical engineer, but I happen to work in a department that is half scientists and half designers, so we call it a schizophrenic department – different brains. But it has been an incredible experience for me working at Cornell University. I’m going to talk about “can nanotechnology be fashionable?” These are projects in which my students have used some of the chemistry that we have developed in the lab to develop concepts and prototypes. We like to work from the bottom up, one molecule at a time. I can guarantee that 100% of the people here are wearing a piece of cotton, and we have been doing that for thousands of years. You may wonder why we still keep using the same molecule for thousands and thousands of years. Cotton is one of the most fascinating and misunderstood materials. It is actually an engineered material. If I wanted
normally doesn’t do. Why do I work in nanoscience and textiles? It sounds like an oxya revolution based on technology. And it happens that that revolution makes a lot of money. People that invest at the beginning of
textile industry, which was able to take all the developments of the steam engine and transfer that into mass production and make tons of money. Then came the railroads that transformed transportation, then automobiles, computers, and we hope that the next revolution will be nanotech.
We focused on merging two revolutions that are 200 years apart. One of the things that textiles can do is to manufacture here. We can manufacture things in large amounts with great reproducibility. In a nanoscale world, we can control materials at a very small scale, one atom at a time. How did we get the inspiration? In 1937, there was not a material called Lycra or Spandex, but you had comic book superheros like the Flash. Flash had materials attached to the skin, and then you had Batman and Wonder Woman with materials that can stop bullets, oped chemistry to make these materials. But the important thing is if you can dream it in the 1930s, you can actually make it happen. What we dream now, the cycles will make them possible in less than 80 years. That was my inspiration.
in the order of ten to twenty nanometers. We can place them very close to each other, so close that they donâ€™t agglomerate. The space between particles is so small that we can control the interaction between light and matter. We control the wavelength of light. We control the color that you can produce. You can make colors by changing the particle size or by changing the space between particles. One of my students, a fashion designer, Olivia Ong, made two dresses in which all the colors are produced with nanoparticles. The materials are made with silver nanoparticles, gold nanoparticles, and the color is made by the interaction of the particles and the space in between particles. So you can move the particles apart, you can create a different color, or you can change the diameter of the particle, and then you can make a different color. No pigments, no dyes. That interaction of particles at such a level is incredible because you can pretty much manipulate any interaction of matter with light.
SMART TEXTILES: FASHION THAT RESPONDS
The thing that I really wanted to do is to transfer one electron from one particle to the next, and I was not able to do so without agglomerating the particles. One of the solutions that we found was to put catalyst on the surface of the particles and produce a chemical reaction between one particle and the other and create a bridge with a conductive polymer in such a way that we have a conductive link that allows an electron to go from one side to the other. That allowed us to develop a conductive thread that is actually cotton, so it feels like cotton, it drapes like cotton because it’s 99.9999% cotton. There
One of my students actually wanted to use this on a dress. She put solar cells on her dress and wanted to charge an iPhone. At the same time she was sewing the dress, she was connecting the circuitry with the same device. That was conductive electricity, something very wanted to something a little bit smarter. What can we do with these materials that can make them a little bit more functional? So we decided to do something a little bit crazy, which was to make transistors made of cotton. With these transistors we have three components – a brain, a gate, and a source – and all of them were made of cotton. We made two transistors, one is an electrochemical transistor, and the other one got very beautiful responses on the transistor side. I got inspired by a device called a quipu. It is a calculator used by the Incas to communicate numbers and operations. Instead of using a written language – they did not have a written code – they used to make a calculator, a little microprocessor made from cotton. Instead of adding electronics to the material, we made the material actually be the electronics. If you can imagine how many junctions you power in your devices.
The next experiment was from my student, Jennifer Keane, who is now working for Adidas. We worked with these beautiful molecules that are metal organic frameworks, in which we can control the space between the molecules so we can capture gasses in a very spe-
hair or your clothes. She wanted to capture those gases. We designed controlling the space and the linkers between the metal groups. Then we developed chemistry to make cotton able to grow this molecule from the cotton space, and she made a mask and a little cape. These molecules can capture any particular gas or capture smells, for example, the places that smell pretty bad. It has a lot of military applications, also for chemical and biological warfare gases. Most of my work is funded by the military. At the same time that we can capture molecules, we can also capture and release. I have a student from Gambia, Matilda, who was very concerned about malaria. Malaria is a major killer in the world. Itâ€™s a problem that we still have in 2013, and there is no easy solution. What we did with Matilda was to create a molecule that is able to trap insecticides and then release it in a controlled manner. We did this by controlling the linkers between the metals so we can expand and contract as a function of temperature so we can release the insecticide at a time when it is needed most, when mosquitoes are more active. To do that, Matilda made a cape. The molecules are actually in the cape that was a concept for a mosquito bed net prototype that we did. We are chemists, we are material scientists, we like to create materials that perform a function instead of adding the function to the material. We want the material to be the function, and we want to really examine what cotton is. If a molecule has been utilized for thousands of years, there must be a reason. Think to yourselves, why do you wear cotton? Imagine all the things you can make with cotton
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– make color, you can capture gases, you can kill bacteria. You may only have to wear one piece of clothing all your life. I hate washing clothes, so that’s one of my main motivations. If I have, for example, this blue sweater, and there happens to be a Cornell game happening, I can move the nanoparticles in my sweater and it becomes red, and I can go and cheer for Cornell. But suppose that Cornell lost, and I switch to pink or to orange and say, “Go Princeton”. Things like that are possible now at a nanoscale level, controlling molecules a single atom at a time. Again, I am not a designer, I have no training in design, but I have wonderful students from Cornell that work in design and I’m just a chemist. This has been an incredible experience for me over the last six years working on this interaction between the way designers think and scientists think.
FASH ION AND THE BODY
FASHION AND THE BODY November 19, 2013 One of the major criticisms of wearable technology is that there is much more focus on technological novelty at the expense of actual Glass, wearables are often lacking when it comes to fashion. Why have tech companies been getting it wrong in their attempts to produce truly fashionable technology? In light of these early missteps, what are tech companies learning from the fashion industry to advance the desirability of their designs? And conversely, how might fashion designers learn from technologists to spur deeper co-creation and innovation in fashiontech? In the following discussion, a panel of designers, curators, and entrepreneurs engage in a spirited discussion on possibilities and obstacles for both the fashion and technology industries to collaborate and advance more fashion-forward wearable tech. PANELISTS ARIELE ELIA is assistant curator at The Museum at FIT, where she organizes exhibitions from the ––extensive permanent collection and writes on fashion history. TITANIA INGLIS is a NYC-based fashion designer who launched her solo line in 2009 after apprenticing under Camilla Stærk, Jean Yu, and threeASFOUR. JAMAL MOTLAGH is the founder and CEO of Acustom Apparel, a custom clothier that uses 3D technology to bring the art of tailoring
Panel moderated by Sabine Seymour.
with MP3 player and touch keypad controller in sleeve, 2004. Courtesy of The Museum at FIT.
FASHION AND THE BODY
Ariele Elia: When co-curating the Fashion and Technology exhibition (The Museum at FIT) the goal was to give some insight into how fashion and technology have evolved. Many take different innovations for granted, things such as the sewing machine. We were hoping by looking back at the dynamic history of fashion and technology that the two designers to think about how to incorporate technology into fashion. The exhibition was inspired by an object in our collection – a 3D printed dress created by Freedom of Creation, which was custom made for the museum in 2005. While we’ve included current technology, the main goal of this gallery is to display 250 years of fashion and release it as a resource for students. Everything in the gallery is pulled from our permanent collection. Some of the earliest pieces in the collection are a men’s machine-knit suit from 1780 and an aniline dyed dress, a kind of very early synthetic dye used to achieve a very brilliant purple. Jumping forward to the (2004). It has a built-in headset and can connect to an mp3 player and also a phone, with a control panel in the arms where you could change your songs or answer a phone call. But this technology, now when we look at it, is quite bulky and not wireless. Titania Inglis: I studied at Design Academy Eindhoven, which really embraces an integrated, materials and process-based approach to design. For me, the end product ended up being clothes, just because as I went through my studies there I realized that more and more of my projects were ending up being wearable and that was really were my interest lie. But at the same time I’m really just interested in exploring what processes are out there, both old and new technologies. My line is a sustainable fashion line. I’ve had it since 2009 and I think sustainable people tend to think in terms of handwork and traditional techniques. I really tried to explore both old and new techniques in the interest of creating really beautiful things that have minimal environ-
Jamal Motlagh: I started Acustom Apparel about two and a half ing for men. We just opened our store in Soho on West Broadway. The process is such that every piece is uniquely made through a process we call Digital Bespoke, which is our own proprietary algorithm to create bespoke patterns, which we generate from a 3D body scan.
seconds we download 200,000 data points about a person’s body. It’s really interesting and accurate data. From that you can generate thousands, if not tens of thousands of different measurements to be able to make the clothing.
fashion? Ariele: Technology really pushes fashion if you look at the innovations of materials and different machines really pushing fashion forward. Something in the exhibition that really resonated for us was a quote by Bradley Quinn who said, “The dialogue between technology and fashion is nothing new. Looking back over the past two centuries reveals how fashion itself can be considered a history of technology.”
when we started curating the exhibit it actually started with the technologies that really pushed fashion forward and I think we still see that today. Jamal: We really use it as a tool to enhance and essentially make better practices that have been around for centuries. The way we think about it, it’s literally a mirroring or meshing of old and new worlds in one sense, because in the world of fashion, the old school will always be important and it will always be necessary in how they do things which look so rudimentary, but are steeped in an important tradition, and for good reasons. But we try to say, “How can we utilize technology to push things forward and essentially achieve a better experience for our customer just in general?”
FASHION AND THE BODY
Sabine: Are customers willing to wait? Jamal: Yeah, I mean, custom clothing isn’t new. There’s a lot of history that comes with that. Just how we do it is very much a new process and our process cuts out a lot of the costs, the time, and makes the experience much better than the traditional, “stand here while Mr. Italian Guy measures your inseam” kind of process. I’ve never really had someone get scanned in our machine and be like, “That was awful. I don’t want to ever do that again,” and I’ve done old to young, men and women. Sabine: People do not feel that their privacy is in jeopardy when they go in and get 3D scanned? Jamal: Not to my knowledge. When we started with women, women were obviously a little more skeptical, but I realized as soon as you put a woman working the machine, they had no problem with it. It’s a practice that you do all the time, Women have been measured by someone before, men have been measured by someone before. This is essentially taking that physical aspect out of it and people we’re measuring and scanning you and then, “See you later,” and it’s this amazing process and experience, as opposed to, “Let’s get you measured.” In my opinion, the body is like the last thing that we haven’t digitized really in mass – credit card information, social information, eating, buying, purchasing, hanging out habits, all that stuff is online, and people know what you look like, but the last thing that’s missing is really that physical data, which for us is an interesting thing to think about in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years when we have so many people measured.
What are the cool things you can do? From helping disease and prevention centers, dealing with heart attacks, being able to look at the body, that’s really important. From a clothing manufacturing perspective, if I know what a sample size of people in Texas between the and merchandising can be done better.
work or in fashion in general? Titania: It’s been really interesting to hear everybody’s very different takes on the subject, but I think if you look back historically, fashion and technology are inextricably interlinked. For example, industrial sewing processes, machine sewing, industrial dyeing, industrial printing – as fashion has developed, the technology has developed. They’ve really been developing hand in hand this entire time. Fashion designers are always limited by what technologies are available out there to create the things that they imagine in their heads. In some cases, our imagination is what helps push that technology fashion. Clothing that you can actually wear on a daily basis is actuAt the same time there’s 3D knitting technology, for example, that has a lot of potential. Personally, I look at technology also in terms of eliminating waste. For example, laser cutting leaves less waste. If you want to do a zero waste pattern, laser cutting will cut your material or your fabric absolutely perfectly. Sruli Recht in Iceland has been using that. With 3D printing, the materials that are available right now just aren’t
Sabine: Can technology on the body actually be fashionable?
FASHION AND THE BODY
Ariele: I don’t want to say, “No, it can’t be fashionable,” but I think we’re getting there eventually. Obviously the work of the panelists here and work from threeASFOUR, you start to see wearable things. But what we were talking about in the museum just today is, “Would you buy that in a luxury boutique? Can you convince that woman who shops on Madison Avenue or Fifth Avenue to buy something with technology in it?” There are companies like Burberry who are doing a really great job in recreating that experience. I don’t think
Titania: One of the pieces I noticed most when I went to Colette in Paris were the luxury headphones that they offered in their store for thousands of dollars with gold and diamonds and leather. I think in that sense, technology is becoming more fashionable. But on the fashion, in the sense of integrating electronics and functionality. But one thing I would note is that social media has a huge impact on the industry and how designers are able to communicate with their customers and even business models. nology being integrated into the actual fabric in the garment. There’s communication technology with social media – using technology to actually communicate brand. The other thing is using technology as the external factor almost, as a tool only. Jamal: I think Nike would say they’ve done an amazing job of using technology in fashion and built a huge business around that. The brand is still important, so just throwing some cool technology on a shirt that looks like something no one’s ever going to wear is not useful. There was an article a few days ago about a bike helmet company that’s essentially like a scarf. Through technology it creates an people will wear that. That’s technology more than it’s fashion.
I think fashion is still very much a branded world and very much, “What’s cool and what’s not cool.” Take Google Glass, put them on some Warby Parker frames and people will probably start being like, “Well, that’s a cool thing.” Right? The glasses just look ugly. It’s there and I think we’re just at the beginning of it, and I think things prior to this have just been testing and editing, but it’s going to happen, and it’s just a matter of a brand saying, “This is what we’re going to do.” Don’t just think of technology as LEDs in your jacket, it’s so much more than that. Audience Member #1: I wear this leather because I like it, but also because it keeps me warm when I’m outside. It does have a technological purpose and prevents me from freezing. So I guess my question is where do you draw the line between fashion and technology? Jamal: There is no line, right? Every piece of clothing that you make, that you’re wearing, if it includes polyester, that’s been created in a lab somewhere. Patterns have been automated and machines have gone from hand, to a line, to automatic. Fashion is technology. What was being said earlier is that the two are together and you could see the rise of technology through fashion. Look at my business – 150, 200 years ago everyone was making clothing the way I make it now, and now it’s made in small, medium, and large, in a pattern and in a line. Yeah, your sweatshirt is technology, so is the clip in your hair, and the glasses on your face or any of that. I don’t think there is a line. It’s impossible to draw a distinction. Ariele: I think also it’s a question of where the public is going to accept that technology. The technology is already there, it’s just a matter of the public accepting it. You can have a completely 3D printed dress, but is somebody going to wear it? Are they going to sit in it? I think it’s where they’re willing to take themselves with it.
FASHION AND THE BODY
I think also if you look at the industry, it’s the bottom line – is it going to be able to sell? Because if it can’t sell, no one’s going to manufacture it. I think it’s wherever the public is going to accept it, is where you could draw the line for that. Audience Member #2: Fashion has always been sort of on the line of non-wearable, it’s haute couture. There’s a lot of stuff out there that wasn’t considered technological, but is not exactly wearable, so it’s always been an issue in my mind, so it’s not new. Ariele: A lot of fashion isn’t wearable, but it’s mostly the runway pieces. A lot of people will take a prototype or give the idea for the rest of the collection. However, I think if you look at what’s actually worn and what’s purchased, most of it is pretty wearable and maybe it’s just a red carpet piece, but if you look at the majority of fashion it’s pretty wearable.
for technology. I think, arguably we’re straddling a few of them now. But there is runway fashion, and sort of that idea of high fashion, but at the same time most of fashion is really just what all of us are wearing on a daily basis. Audience Member #3: I would love to hear everyone on the panel’s variety of different things. Ariele: I look at it from two different angles with wearable technology. I look at the sportswear aspect, where I think it’s really doing a wonderful job, and then I look at the fashion aspect. As far as the sportswear aspect with Adidas, Nike, they’re going forward. As far as the fashion aspect is I think we’re still on our way there.
But to me, I always think of wearable technology as, if you put a LilyPad Arduino or some kind of microcontroller, I always think of something like that, where you can actually still see the technology even if it’s on the inside. Titania: I think at this point in history, what’s interesting is the cutting-edge technology. There’s all sorts of hidden technology that goes into your clothes that you don’t really think about. But again, if it’s going to do something robotic, if it’s going to light up, if it can communicate somehow, that’s sort of where we’re looking with wearable technology. Jamal: I think it’s like augmentation. You’re cold and it makes you hot, you’re hot it makes you cold. You’re in situations where your clothing needs to adapt to the environment and then it adapts. I think the age of embedding a remote control into the sleeve of your jacket is over because we now have iPhones, and essentially that one device takes care of 98% of what 20 years ago you would think clothing would do for you. It’s really just about adaptation of the fabric possibly to the external environment. Sabine: Wearables in fashion is basically creating a piece that you be. I think that the answers are very well taken at this point in time, but I do hope that very soon we won’t have to think about microprocessors in the way of an Arduino to be wearable. Jamal: I think the point was that outside of Nike you have companies like Uniqlo really adapting and using technology inside of their clothing, and Nike recently just came out with a new fabric that they’re selling in $100 sweatshirts, that is incredibly warm and soft and comfortable and dynamic. It’s in the clothing and it’s in the fabric itself, that’s where the technology is.
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Titania: But a lot of what Uniqlo is doing is about creating a brand and telling a story, because ultimately with AIRism they’re just using cupra, which is a type of rayon that’s actually been around for a few years, but they’re advertising it in such a way that it sounds like a new technology that everybody else has. Jamal: Tech has been very hard to meld into fashion. I run a company that’s very much based on technology and we debate all the time how much of that we want to show to the customer because you come off too nerdy. People want to wear your clothing so they can feel good and cool about it, and until recently, techies haven’t been cool. That’s obviously changing in our daily social dynamics because we have all these guys making billions of dollars and they’re just kind of nerdy kids and they’re changing the world through that aspect of themselves. I think that’s a cultural thing. I think you go to a place like Japan where technology’s always been really cool and you go around and people are wearing dresses with LEDs in them in a way that here you’d be like, “That’s crazy.” Audience Member #4: I have two things. One is I think it’s really interesting that we’re separating athletic wear and fashion when they exist within each other. I’m wondering what is happening now when tech used to be kind of nerdy, but we had Steve Jobs and then we have Silicon Valley and “nerd chic”, and Warby Parker, and all these things where tech is becoming much more integrated into fashion with a capital “F”, and by that I mean even just bloggers wearing their Nike shoes and everything. The lines are being blurred, so I’m wondering what you think the effect of sportswear, coming back into the public eye in a way that it hasn’t, since maybe the ‘80s, will have on the future of fashion with a capital “F”?
Image: Titania Inglis, Suspension Dress, Tessellation SS14 collection.
FASHION AND THE BODY
My second question, is I’m looking at things like Uniqlo Heattech, AIRism – we are accepting this technology as something that we want to purchase but we don’t know what it’s made out of. The question of transparency comes up and I’m wondering if you think people will start wanting a sort of ingredient list, like we saw with the Food Movement and will people be willing to ask those questions? “What’s in this?”
both of your questions go back to how the internet has really affected the fashion industry as a whole. For example, the fact the bloggers are a major force in fashion at all is really a very new thing, that they’re showing up on the front rows at runway shows. All of that is massively overturning the hierarchy of the fashion industry that’s been in place for decades. As far as transparency, I think the harkens back to what I was saying earlier about social media really revolutionizing the fashion industry and how designers communicate with their customers and I mean, it’s beyond customers really. At this point it really becomes just the people that you’re speaking to out there, your general public. With all the things that have been happening in Bangladesh, people are starting to see what’s going on behind the scenes. The internet has been huge in getting that out there, and so I think people are trying to demand that information. I think the internet is really giving people a platform to share that information with their customers. As far as Nike and athletic wear being separate from high fashion, I think you always have a lot of crossover between “high and low fashion”. Marc Jacobs has been the champion of that for a while, but you see people like Alexander Wang also doing this street wear high crossovers and there will continue to be.
I think that what’s really interesting about athletic wear is they’ve been less afraid to embrace new technologies and really more inquisitive about trying things out, whereas high fashion tends to be a little more stuck in traditional processes, outside of certain people, like Iris van Herpen and threeASFOUR, but there’s not a whole lot of them. Jamal: I would ask, what fashion product is based in technology, a new fashion product that people are wearing all over the place that is based in technology, other than the Nike FuelBand? Is there a new type of jacket? A new head piece? The smartphone, yes, but that’s more about function and less about fashion. I’d say it became fashionable. There’s not a new type of shoe that we’re wearing or a new type of jacket. Most of the technology is in the textile and in the manufacturing. The internet has essentially done wonders to the business of fashion but not necessarily the actual end product. You can have glasses for 1/3 the price and have them shipped to you for free. It’s integrated in the consumption of it, the marketing and distribution of it, but not necessarily in that we’re creating something totally unique. Ariele: Going to this past Fashion Week, what I thought was so fascinating is all the Nike sneakers that you’re seeing that are worn with really high-end fashionable pieces. You’re starting to see women now wear their Nike shoes and they’re going to a business meeting. But to me, it’s a current trend. When is that trend going to disappear? Once it disappears that fashionable woman is off somewhere else. Maybe she’s buying the Nike FuelBand right now because it’s a fashionable product, but is she going to continue?
FASHION AND THE BODY
But if you look at it on the other end, you have so many young designers who are more willing to pick up on the technology and to collaborate. If you have young people like Alexander Wang starting to design these, maybe they’re the new generation, maybe a lot more young people are going to pick up on this and be implementing technology into their collections. If you look at the young consumer, they’re really the ones buying most of the fashion at this point and will continue to be one of the biggest consumers as we go forward. I think that it will start to pick up more, but right now it’s for the younger person. Sabine: What if the technology was soft, invisible, and then integrated in the pieces, or if the technology was such that you had it in the actual fabric itself, not so much the chemical processes that we see right now with Uniqlo, but what if all these actuations of sensing that we can integrate right now with a microprocessor and a lot of conductive yarn, was actually soft – would that change the appeal for fashion designers to work with this, or in general?
selling point say, “Oh and as an added bonus this actually does this, of a selling point. But I think one of the major gaps between engineers and fashion, is it’s the aesthetic that’s missing. I think once it starts closing that gap you’re getting much closer. Audience Member #5: There’s a lot of feedback between class and fashion, for example the American-style business was really driven by New York bankers and became a big cultural mainstay in American fashion, and then international fashion. In the same way, the “Zuckerberg hoodie” kind of played a role in current trends. As the tech entrepreneurs become a part of the American money class, are they driving trends that are mainstays
or are they ephemeral because the technology is ephemeral? For example, Google Glass, is it going to take someone in the technology community that becomes a tastemaker and that spreads out from there, rather than be, as you said, integrated into an aesthetically appealing piece that becomes a part of how we wear fashion in regular, everyday life? Jamal: Google Glass, they’re not idiots, so Diane von Furstenberg is helping them ... That was their prototype product and they’re trying to get that integrated. I think there are very few individuals that really push style. In my opinion, for men, it’s David Beckham, and you got one guy every twenty years coming along and really advancing things by themselves as a person. What really happens is the brands, designers, and couture people and these people at the cutting edge are really what’s pushing everything forward and then everyone copies you. It’s the brands, I think in the end that are going to push it forward and not one individual. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe someone will come along and launch something cool and unique, but that person in himself is now a brand. If Jay-Z wears something, Jay-Z is a brand, in and of himself, as opposed to just an individual walking down the street wearing something crazy or cool. Ariele: It could be a very quick trend that comes and goes, depending on how much energy you put into the product. If you look at collaborations, if you slap your name on a collaboration it’s going to come and go. People are done with it. I think if you look at even the Google Glass, they’ve put it in Vogue a few times now but it still hasn’t caught on. I think you have to look at the aesthetic. It almost has to be transparent when you’re purchasing it. I think that you have to almost create a very classic piece. If you take maybe a very classic eye frame and then you put the camera on it, maybe that will work, but the camera’s still pretty bulky. And what’s the function of it? I buy a pair of sunglasses because they’re
FASHION AND THE BODY
very aesthetically beautiful, but do I really want everything recorded around me? I think you have to look at the end product and if it’s something that people have to think about. Because typically when you put on clothes you put them on because they feel good. You don’t want to have to think about it, but if it kind of enhances your life with, GPS directions or things like that, that would be great, but I think you have to look beyond. Your iPhone does all that now, and I think it’s a great product, but you have to create something that the iPhone doesn’t do. Sabine: When you think about your own work and the space you’re working in, what do you think the future will bring? Jamal: The bet that we make every day at Acustom Apparel is that in the future, custom clothing is going to be a much bigger and more predominant aspect of clothing. I’ve heard stats that by 2020, 17% of clothing will be somewhat customizable or preferential, in that it will be unique. For us the big place is the 3D body scanner right now, because that’s the easiest and most accurate way to get as much data as we need that’s within a millimeter of accuracy. I’m waiting for two or three years from now when there’s an iPhone camera version. The tech-
sitting in your house getting yourself measured for clothing that can get customized or personalized or shipped or sent to your house. The reason clothing is so expensive is because you have to produce all of it, and then you don’t know if people are going to buy it or not buy it. If you can create real just-in-time mass manufacturing for clothing, you can take what was once a $1000 garment and make it a $100 garment, just by essentially taking away the risk of inventory, which is essentially what crushes companies, but is also ... if you know anything about fashion, that’s a $5 belt that Burberry selling for $375, or any one of those brands. Some of that’s brand, some of that’s inventory as well.
Sabine: Titania, do you have any comment on that because I know you do a lot of custom work. Titania: I do a lot of custom work and I also take custom orders online. One of the big trends that I’ve been reading about now is this idea of mass customization. Nike’s in the forefront with NikeiD, and what Jamal is doing, and even on a smaller, higher-end scale for me, people being able to email me from around the world and say, “Hey, I like that dress that you have on your website, but I’m really tall. Can you add a couple of inches to the hem?” I can make a one-off for them. That’s a really interesting thing as fashion moves forward. I’m not really sure we can get from a $1000 to $100 equivalent item, because there’s so much else that goes into the costing. Jamal: I disagree. Chinese manufacturing has come such a long way er wanted to buy before, but are now being made and created there. You see companies that are successful out there that are selling your $350 cashmere online for $80 bucks. If you could disassociate brand with the clothing, which you could never do, you could drastically $100 things instead of $1,000 bucks obviously, but … Sabine: But I think to that point, it’s very interesting now, bringing it back to wearable technology. We very often now have to think about factories, where you have a lot of different expertise that needs to be actually centralized in a way that you can monitor what’s hapyou actually want to sell. Do you guys think there’s a change in the manufacturing process when it comes to fashion? When it comes to these type of items? Jamal: You’re talking about sample items?
you ship them to China, and then you have people that actually
FASHION AND THE BODY
manufacture the garments. But now you need to have an electrical engineer together with a textile engineer, together with a chemist, together with an actual person that sews the garment, fuses it, or they use any other type of technique. The manufacturing process is changing quite a bit, still trying to be customized, still trying to be sustainable in a way that you do not have much waste, but now you have to have a completely different way of structuring the manufacturing. Do you think it’s going to be an interesting shift in some of the industries? Ariele: I think if you look at the quality control, unless you have somebody there, standing over the person who is sewing it, it might not match up. If you’re doing technology you would absolutely have few times they might not get it right. I think the manufacturing process would also have to change. You’re going to have to educate people how to read code or how to even produce it. It would have to change, I think if you’re putting technology in there. Audience Member #6: Going back a couple of steps when you were discussing the idea that cost could radically decrease if you’re not talking about a marketing premium or a luxury premium, but the fact that Chinese production has improved dramatically in terms of quality in the last twenty years. But it’s also gotten a lot more expento inexpensively manufacture, but they didn’t at that time have or understand the technology. Technology was imported, which they then learned and adapted for themselves. But over the course of the last twenty years, manufacturing has increased in quality, but also increased in costs. The segment of the market for products that are being produced in China is no longer the same as it was twenty years ago.
When you’re talking about the manufacturing process changing, you’re not factoring in globalization and the way the developing markets have been at times exploited and are now, sort of emerging as being able to control themselves more in the evolution of the globalization of the supply chain. All of that factors in, it’s not just a matter of the technology improving but it actually being, sort of like ownership changing hands, the management of that technology. It’s such a complex combination of things ,but ultimately the “good-fast-cheap” triangle is always in effect. You can’t have all three things, you can have two of the three things, so what do you choose? Jamal: I think my point was more that just-in-time manufacturing as an adaptation of mass manufacturing is really going to be the revolution, and I think it’s there, it’s just about scale. If the factories I work with had ten times the number of orders they had now, they would be ten times better and there would be ten more of them. That will improve and drastically reduce pricing cost because forecasting and the business side of things could be done in a much more interesting way. It’s not just about China. China’s going to become Thailand and Thailand’s going to become Laos and that will always move and those prices will always come up and down. But it will be a question for me of, “Can you manufacture things one-off and can you then get it there quickly?” Could you order something tomorrow that’s made on Thursday and you have it in your hands by Friday? Audience Member #6: I think that’s the point though. I agree with you, but a scale economy means that you’re producing a lot of things, which is decreasing the cost of the individual thing, right? Just-intime manufacturing and scale economies are in and of themselves sort of at odds. You could look at what Zara does, for example, which buys a dyeable fabric, then transmits information about what the stores need, produces and turns that around in two weeks because they own all of their plants and their logistics systems have so much technology inherent in them, that they’re able to accomplish that.
FASHION AND THE BODY
But if you’re talking about one-off things, you’re talking about something that’s being done close by and if you’re a developed country like the US, then you’re talking about high cost per garment because labor cost are higher. I totally agree with you, but I feel like it’s a bit reductive, there’s a lot more complexity than simply, just-in-time is going to solve it because just-in-time is maybe more expensive for manufacturing but less expensive for logistics or more expensive for logistics but less for manufacturing because it’s being produced in a place that’s farther away and less expensive to produce. Audience Member #7: I would like your opinion about how you think major fashion brands are going to change through collaborations with major consumer electronics brands? For instance, in fashion, it’s the artistic expression of one person. You notice even a whole company under the name Diane von Furstenberg, for example, and how “she” – her company – did a collaboration with Google Glass. How do you see the disparity between giant consumer electronic companies like the “Samsung Smart Watch” versus the auteur model of the fashion designer. How do you see those two spaces changing
Ariele: I think what DvF did with Google was great. It’s a collaboration, but I don’t know how much work and effort really went into it. Her models went down the runway wearing the glasses and the audience could see from the model’s point of view, but I think that needs to go a lot further. Also I think the issue is how quickly does the designer have to design a collection? Sometimes it’s a month, sometimes it’s two months and I think that it has to be an on-going process. I think the work that Iris van Herpen is doing, it’s a constant work. It can’t be something that you just do one season. You really have to be very involved with it, because it’s going to take a number of years to actually get a great collaboration to work.
Titania: I think that you have to look at, for example Apple’s success with Jonathan Ives as their Creative Director. It’s really a lot about that one man’s vision, and his attention to detail, and just that embrace of the beauty and the fashion of technology. I worked on a show for Imitation of Christ that Blackberry had partly sponsored, so all the models walked down the runway with Blackberry’s in their hands, which really kind of just distracted from the fashion aspect of the show. It didn’t do a whole lot for Blackberry. I think that Vivian Tam designed a bunch of custom cases for laptops. There were really ugly and fashion just wasn’t integrated into the laptops themselves. It was just the shell that she designed for the laptops. Ultimately, as Ariele said, it’s going to have to be a long term collaboration, and it’s going to have to be a lot deeper and really go into the function and the thinking behind the product more than just
Jamal: I think most technology companies will become fashion companies. As technology becomes so much more wearable and smaller and Samsung creates watches and the difference between one TV and the next TV is really just the design, what is fashion? Fashion is design. If Apple created a sweatshirt, half of this room would buy it, including myself. That’s interesting for fashion companies, if these guys are going to get into tech and utilize their knowledge in the space to do that ... how do you as a fashion designer or garment manufacturer compete with that? Audience Member #8: I’d like to hear a little bit about, maybe a little further down the road than sports, but medical. Right now, it’s probably the primary application of additive manufacturing other than aerospace. How about bringing some therapeutic aspects, it may not be performance based, but something you need anyway. How can fashion do that for me?
FASHION AND THE BODY
Jamal: If you can have a jacket that’s going to tell you ten minutes before you’re going to have a heart attack, that you’re going to have a heart attack or a T-shirt that slowly gives you insulin because you’re diabetic ... If you can do anything in the medical industry it’s prob-
But there are huge needs there. That in my opinion is more interesting than how can we make a fabric look cooler and shinier and transform and translucenate or whatever, as opposed to, how can we save a life or help someone that has a need or a dietary issue or something like that through the clothing. In general, it’s probably not going to be a T-shirt, it’s going to be some sort of cool patch that you can wear, whatever it is but transform that into fashion and making it usable, and thus wearable. If that’s what you’re doing, that’s cool. Titania: I think for that type of technology to become integrated into able. There’s a level of resistance and you also want it to go from a novelty to being a mainstream item that people can wear and feel like it’s normal, and not like they have this weird medical condition so they’re wearing this big plastic, lumpy thing.
for some people, so it reaches the world where a lot of people actually have that problem. They created a bulletproof fabric and there’s actually companies making bulletproof shirts which look like regular shirts, except they’re made in bulletproof fabrics. We can get to that point with medical technologies where you can wear a shirt and it still just looks like a regular shirt but it has that additional functionality, I think that’s where you’ll be able to really make that mainstream.
ENER GY ON THE BODY
ENERGY ON THE BODY December 11, 2013 One of the biggest challenges facing designers looking to integrate technology into fashion, is the ability to make garments that are easy to power and recharge. So while designers and engineers are working toward a day when electronics might become a seamless part of a garment – as the very material itself rather than a hard device attached to clothing – there is the equally imposing task of building batteries or energy harvesting capabilities into the things able electronics are to be placed directly on the body, they need to be
rechargeability. If you think it’s a drag to have to constantly plug in your smartphone, imagine if it was your shirt. Research into wireless and renewable energy for wearables has thus far proved the limitations in the amount of energy that can actually be stored. Nonetheless, many promising explorations have emerged from both this holy grail of fashiontech. In the following presentations, a group Steingart (Princeton University), John Kymissis (Columbia University) and Amanda Parkes (Skinteractive Studio, Manufacture New York), each of whom are working at the cutting edge of energy and high performance wear. – Paul Amitai
DAN STEINGARTâ€™s background includes work as senior applications engineer at Sentilla, where he developed wireless sensor networks, including micropower management and network integration. Dan is co-founder of Wireless Industrial Technologies, a company that uses wireless mesh networks to optimize electricity use and minimize emissions in large-scale, distributed primary metals production plants. Image: Research & development Roseâ€™s Bodycrowns, 2012-13. Courtesy of Dan Steingart.
DAN STEINGART Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment Princeton University I’m going to talk about batteries but also generally what you can do with batteries potentially in textiles. The point of this presentation is energy we can potentially generate through motion, through harvesting available light and potentially thermal gradients. Spoiler: not all that much, but some. Then, what we can do with this. I am not an expert in fashion. But I think many of you are, so it would be really great just to start a conversation here tonight about what you really need or what you envision the functionality of your computational clothing ought to be. Here is a quote from sort of the “nerd pope”, Steve Wozniak. He says, “I want the entire smartphone, the entire internet on my wrist.” Now, whether you need this or not, is irrelevant. This is a subjective need of someone who has some particular aesthetic want. In this particular quote, he is complaining about the display. I wanted to highlight an important issue around both displays and about shrinking things so we can take it back into textiles. He’s complaining that you can pack a lot of functionality into a watch, but it still has a little screen and he wants a bigger screen. Somewhere else he says that he wants the screen to roll out into his wrist. He wants an awful lot of functionality packed into a very small area. There was this watch released just a few months back called the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch. They were probably scooped in functionality when you really boil down what this thing can do by the Microsoft Smart Watch ten years ago and then more recently by the Pebble.
This is a review that was posted on the Samsung website: “Samit lacks really basic features and its battery life isn’t good enough either, and it only works with one phone right now and it’s not worth £300.” This was on Samsung’s website. This was one of the more positive reviews. I don’t mean to take it out on Samsung, well, that’s ing power and potentially what you can do with it if you expand it out over the entire body. There is this point where, we’re at cross purposes in trying to shrink down functionality and how much energy we can store in very small things. Unsurprisingly, we have a linear improvement but where things really begin to break down are when you examine what the display is doing. The radios effectively are all doing similar things, where we have to push more light, more pixels, and generally when displays get bigger, they use more power. If I overlay roughly the battery life versus battery size, we see immediately the fault of the Samsung Gear. They’re trying to pack a lot of functionality into a very small device and the reviews are really knocking its functionality. Right up front, high and center, are roughly do the same thing. The Fitbit has an advantage, I believe, still over the Nike and the Jawbone in that it’s wireless and has no display. It’s already got an advantage over the smartwatch in a sense that it’s assuming that you’re going to use your phone to do something useful. People are probably not going to give up their phones to use a shirt anytime soon, so replacing the functionality of a phone in a shirt may be kind of silly. The thing about this is that as the battery size gets bigger, the battery life gets better. You can do a lot with it, and shirts are relatively large compared to all of these devices. You should be able to do whatever you need to get done in a device so long as you’re not putting a massive display on it.
ENERGY ON THE BODY
I’m going to show you some of the things that my lab has done to put batteries into fabrics and talk about some of the technical challenges of getting that done. I don’t think it’s insurmountable. I’m just going to quickly touch on how energy can get into batteries assuming you’re not plugging it in via USB or something else. There have been some press releases about wearable solar panels recently. Folks have been trying to harvest heat to do work for a while. There have been a number of watches – watches seem to be a go-to point for a fashionable technology that have been charged by body heat. They don’t work very well. Self-winding watches have been around for a long time and actually work quite well. Charging these devices or running them purely off of ambient energy is quite ity down, but at best, these are supplements to charging in things that you can boost up. Energy harvesting is hard to implement because you have to use batteries. You can gain a little bit of energy by moving around or by exposing to sun. But in a practical application, particularly an applirun. I’m going to throw a couple of terms around – primary batteries mean batteries that are not rechargeable. It’s primary because of the primary source of power. They’re cheaper and they have higher capacities. Secondary batteries simply mean rechargeable. They tend to be more expensive and they actually store less energy.
ability for a battery to perform is effectively a direct function of your ability to maintain this structure and how big its size. Unlike circuits, batteries don’t get better when you make them smaller. What makes it hard to have a battery that’s bendable is that at least three
There wasn’t all that much interest in computational fashion or wearable electronics until a few years ago, so there hadn’t been a dedicated effort to it. But it came to a boiling point where a lot of people were asking my lab, what can be done. And by “a lot of people”, I mean, enough such that I was able to get funding to do something. I had a clever grad student [Abhinav Gaikwad] who realized that just taking a page from concrete would help. So we made rebar-ed batteries, we used mesh reinforcements. If you bend a normal battery, you get cracking along the points where you bend it. We simply took a piece of nylon mesh that was meant for a bandage. We embedded a battery into the nylon mesh, really think much about it was that, as we bent the battery, the performance of the battery actually improved. It turns out, there is
Now, we kind of made a meta battery that can power an Arduino and tell you what state it’s in. If it’s bent, it tells you the battery is bent. well, this is all well and good but it’s not all that conformal.” How many of you know how spandex works? Spandex is really amazing stuff because it doesn’t really stretch or it half-stretches. The way it and they’re held together by little rubber bands and when you pull an exceptionally well engineered material, and the fact that it’s so cheap is a real testament to what you can do with weaving. I think there is a lot of room to push this even further. We did the same trick, and we embedded a battery into it and now, we’re litercell out of it and we get 150% expansion. The other thing we can do is simply make a high potential battery that’s about 15 volts. If the natural potential of the battery doesn’t matter, you have a large
ENERGY ON THE BODY
enough area on a piece of cloth to put them in series like you would in an old boom box. You would have six D cells to get it to power, we can put six batteries in series to get to any potential we need. tional Fashion Fellow) Carrie Mae Rose. We tried to let Carrie guide us and encourage us to do something a little bit more interesting in terms of the shape and the design and functionality. First we took the process and tried to make batteries that simply were aesthetically pleasing. We showed that the process can be cut into arbitrary tetrahedrons. We also cut the batteries out in the shape of a feather. We can impregnate the feather itself with the active battery material. If you match your chemicals correctly, you can insert a battery into anything, and the bigger the device is, the better the battery will be. Instead of having to worry about how much battery you can get into a small watch, if you can think of your entire shirt as fair game, there is a lot you can do. Batteries don’t have to be big to be functional. We made a prototype of a potential earring that has a wire that’s coated with two batteries in series. It gives a high enough current to power a fan, and it’s conformal to the piece of jewelry. A coating on a piece of jewelry can be a functional battery. We can make a battery of any shape and size and this isn’t rocket science. can behave. These are easy to recharge. The frontier is washable, and this is a real trick, but I think there is some nifty things that can be done because most of the chemistries that are used in cellphones, and if you’re familiar with the concept of lithium ion, they’re inherently not washable, they can never get wet. That’s not to say you can’t make a battery that can get wet. You just have to give something up. Everything I’ve presented can be re-engineered to be washable and this is sort of the frontier that we’re working on.
JOHN KYMISSISâ€™s research focuses on the fabrication, characterization, and applications of thin focus in the applications of organic semiconductors and recrystallized silicon devices. In addition to his teaching and research work, he also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Society for Information Display. Image: Columbia Laboratory for Unconventional Electronics, thin John Kymissis.
JOHN KYMISSIS Professor, Columbia University Laboratory for Uncoventional Electronics
harvesting, or energy scavenging. When we look at wearable electronics, in particular, we really have to distinguish between different you probably the most power, is what I call people power. This is like you turn and things like that. What’s different about people power is you’re getting somebody to do something that’s exhausting and getting them to exert themselves, but that means that a lot of energy is going in and you’re making a motion which can be optimized for generating power. When we talk about fashion, we’re really looking for the next two power that doesn’t come from the user but comes from the environment – photovoltaics, wind, things like that. We’ll see that that’s consider as a source of energy coming into wearable electronics. The second is parasitic power, which is people power, but people power in which you’re not loading the user. With parasitic power, you’re just shaving off a little bit or taking energy which you naturally want to take away and using it to do useful work. I was very inspired by a paper that Thad Starner wrote in 1996. He tallied up all the possible sources of energy. A person, if you’re average, uses about 120 watts average over the day, a little less at night, a little
is 120 watts.
That sounds pretty good, right? We heard 5 mV of powers ... you between body temperature and a relatively cold room is only about 3%. We’re talking 4 watts, and that’s 4 watts if you covered your entire body in cold harvesters. Imagine dipping into a cold pool head to toe all the time. That’s the experience to get just that 4 watts, so I wouldn’t call it a parasitic. Upper limbs can exert about 60 watts, like pedaling or lifting or is also about the same. That’s normal walking. Your legs can exert walking. A long time ago, I worked on shoe power and really the idea here was, that a sneaker is there to waste energy so the job of a sneaker is and jumping and stepping, get rid of all the high frequency components, throw those away, those get absorbed as heat in the phone and then just give you the low frequency. Your foot still steps on the ground and stops but it doesn’t do it with all the vibration that then hurts your knees and does all that stuff. This force displacement curve is really what you want out of a good sneaker. You want some kind of viscoelastic material which then absorbs that energy. If I made a shoe which just took that energy away and turned it into electricity, you wouldn’t even notice. In fact, you’d thank me for it, it would be great. It would do what a sneaker does, instead of wearing like a wooden clog, which are very elastic and so there is energy returning.
uses the piezoelectric polymer and piezoelectric polymers are pretty interesting. I still work with them extensively, but it has sixteen layers of material and really complicated mechanics. Walking, you get about a milliwatt, which actually isn’t that bad. You can do a lot
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with a milliwatt, we’ll see how much in a minute. We also ripped gives you a lot more energy. It gives about 100 milliwatts, but it gives you 100 milliwatts because you’re now creating a lot more force and a lot more displacement which then bounce around. In terms of environmental energy, photovoltaics are a great way to go and I’m always a little bit careful to not talk about them as solar cells. Photovoltaic takes light and turns them into energy. Solar cells particular spectral range and particular intensity. There is actually different engineering for outdoor photovoltaics and for indoor photovoltaics. Outdoor light has a very high intensity. It’s free and what’s bad about it is, it has a really broad spectrum. It has a lot of infrared can get once you factor everything is about 35%. We can also think about harvesting indoor light. In western societies, we’re indoors most of the day. In developing countries, people
and LED lights is much narrower so you get a much higher possible looking at light availability indoors. Indoors and outdoors, you kind of see the same thing which is that, during the day, you have a lot more light than at night and it’s intermittent, so we need batteries. If we’re expecting the electronics to work all the time, we need something that smooths over the low times. Probably the most important thing here is that the scales are kind of different. One minute outdoors is harvesting an entire day inside. There is really not a lot of energy indoors. We’ve done a lot of surveys and if you’re interested, you can download the surveys. We have a one year long survey of eight sites in thirty-second intervals.
Anyway, after all of that pain and suffering, we basically came down to the conclusion that this is how much energy is available. In an incommunication data rate of one and a half kilobits per second, which is really, really nothing. I mean, this would download a web page a is a thousand times that. Photovoltaics are great, but you have to think about the use scenario, where you’re going to be, and deal with issues like the brightness and intermittency. We’ve also looked at vibrational power. Vibrational power is intermagnet inside and a coil, what you’re doing there is you’re making a mass spring system and then you’re moving the magnet past the coil. It turns out that the mass spring system can have a certain degree of tuning based on how much loss you build into it and there is an optimal tuning based on the frequency at which that vibration comes in. If you look at people moving, we did a survey of people doing different activities. The frequencies at which those activities generate the most power is different. Unfortunately, one energy harvester doesn’t cover all applications. If you’re making an energy harvester that’s broadband, it doesn’t harvest a lot of energy for any activities because you don’t get that resonance. In the end, walking and running, wind up being the best. We tried all sorts of things like spinning in a chair, it doesn’t really do much. Opening the door and closing the door is even worse. In the end, shaking something at the deterministic frequency, and walking, wind up being your best bet. These are some energy available in vibration energy, but again we’re talking really small numbers. Comparable with what you get for indoor photovoltaics, about a credit card size. There are number of possible energy sources. None of them are super about how we can use this energy. There are some things that you
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can shrink and there are some things that you can’t. The three things that you really can’t shrink are photovoltaics because photovoltaics need to be large in order to harvest energy, as well as the user interface components because we will not get smaller. This is one of the challenges with the watch. I had one of those great Microsoft Spot watches. What was great about it is it didn’t try to do too much. It only had four buttons and did everything with those four buttons. Whereas the touch screen, more modern smartwatches, everyone is disappointed that the UI just doesn’t get it and that’s always a challenge. The last is the display. In a direct view display, you want the display to be a reasonable size and they’re just not going to shrink down. One solution there is really to think about printed electronics. There has been an incredible amount of work printing things and you can print almost anything. The printed version is never going to be as good as the optimized version but you could print solar cells, you can print batteries, OLEDs, you can print different types of displays, anything that you can imagine. This allows you to use almost
ible tool box, and what’s great is whenever you have an idea, you can reach into the tool box and grab what you need. For example, you want to make a microphone, you can grab a piezoelectric element, some transistors, put those together and you have a microphone. If the next day, you want to make a camera, you can get a photodetector, you always need transistors, get some transistors, you put those together. If you want to make an energy harvester, you group and lots of other groups work on, trying to make interesting new systems that take advantage of these technologies.
Some of these are relatively straightforward to make. One that we’ve developed into a usable kit is making electroluminescent lamps. They’re really easy to make. We did this at a workshop a couple of years ago at the MIT Media Lab. We had a bunch of folks that didn’t know anything about electronics. I talked to them for about two hours, about displays and electronics, and don’t try to touch the front part of the soldering iron. It’s great and nobody had any trouble with it and they all got it to work and it was a lot of fun. In the end, it’s all screen printing. It’s pretty simple and even industrially, it’s pretty simple. It’s just, there is a lot of mystique about where the materials come from. One of my students developed a kit and distributed it. There are different modes of what we’ll call printing. Certainly, screen printing is really easy and that you can set up anywhere. Screen printing is a great mode for artists to work with because many are familiar with it, but it also has almost no capital cost and it works quite well. There are some downsides to screen printing. If you need high spatial resolution, getting it is complicated. It’s not impossible but it involves much more work, much more trouble than it’s worth in many cases. Ink jet printing is a lot more complicated, but you can now get $130 ink jet printers with blank cartridges that
Dan turned us onto this concept that we were doing a lot of work with, what we call capillary draw printing, which is basically using a robot together with a pneumatic dispenser to put down lines. That’s very inexpensive and really straightforward. That’s sort of how we made transistors with a Makerbot or RepRap 3D printer. It’s also possible to use a capillary pen. That wound up being a little more complicated. But we saw somebody who followed our other paper, and they just went to an art store, bought a calligraphy paint brush, squirted a semiconductor in it, and then mounted it on a plotter. It’s also possible to add interaction pretty easily. I spoke earlier about piezoelectrics and piezoelectric polymers are really nice. They’re like saran wrap but when you push on them they generate
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did another workshop in which we made OLEDs and for these we developed the form of OLED which can be printed and made using essentially Q-tips and paint brushes. We wanted to make something that’s a little bit interactive, so we the electrodes on to, and then that all fed into a microcontroller and user interface was all customizable. Then we asked everybody participating in the workshop, what do you want to make? Somebody made Simon kind of game and other people wanted to make a keyboard that sang songs, and that’s cool. You can just sit there and cut it out with scissors, screen print it and make it go. These are all relatively lightweight materials and stuff that you can work with at home. If I have any conclusions, it’s that it makes sense to measure everything so that you don’t get going in a direction that doesn’t make sense. What makes sense is gross mechanical motion and photovoltaics. Those are the low hanging fruit and that’s what you should think about when you want to get parasitic types of power operating. Dan said this as well, there is really much more technology available than good ideas out there to pursue. There are a lot of folks who are able to develop components, but integrating them into something which is interesting and makes sense is really the next frontier for billion dollar business that uses them, and that’s really the next step. Some things are harder than they seem and a lot of things wind up easier than they seem.
AMANDA PARKES is a media designer & technologist interested in how digital technologies and smart materials can expand our relationship with natural phenomena to facilitate a more intuitive connection between technology and the natural world. She develops hi-tech textile projects for use in areas ranging from performance to medicine. Image: Prue Lang, Un rĂŠseau translucide, 2011. In collaboration with Amanda Parkes. Photo: Hillary Goidell.
AMANDA PARKES Biomedia Designer and Fashion Technologist Skinteractive Studio It’s really great to be here because it’s not very often I get to be on a panel where I’m completely out-teched, especially in a gallery, which is awesome. Dan and John just gave the tech backup and explanadesigns. I am currently in the Columbia University School of Architecture. I teach classes around body craft, bio materials, not directly architecture, but technology, materiality, biology, and the body. I run a studio in Brooklyn called Skinteractive that covers everything from structural engineering for couture, working on consulting with wear-
I work with performance companies – I did a body sensor network for the 2012 Summer Olympics with Elizabeth Streb – and then doing my own R&D work within the space. I made a collaboration with a company in London called Bare Conductive where we’re working on an organic conductive ink and I’m trying to feed it to slime molds to have them grow conductive traces into cotton. I’m also the co-founder of an algae biofuels company, which we have a licensed technology to optimize photosynthesis for growing algae as a biofuel. I have a whole other life in the energy space. I also occasionally curate shows
I’ve just recently become the director of research and development at a new fashion incubator called Manufacture New York, which is a hybrid space that has studio space for independent designers, full tech annex, which combines advanced digital fabrication for textiles – 3D printing, laser cutting looms, etc. – with a wearable electronics lab and a bio lab. We’re putting all of those things together, thinking about what kinds of things can we make, and hopefully bringing access to the kinds of things that Dan and John are talking about into a space that’s more public, and where fashion designers working can have direct access to these kinds of things.
That’s just getting set up. We have a small space in the Garment District right now, we’re going to be launching in Brooklyn in the spring. The classes I teach at Columbia are more high concept, what is the future of thinking about fashion. Before coming to New York, I was at the MIT Media Lab for six years doing a PhD. My work was all over the board. I was focused on self-programmable, modular robotics with smart materials. I did large scale installation work and some fashion, mostly because I was always interested in fashion and mesh textile that was programmable by demonstration. While I was there, I was working on these fun fashion projects, as were a few people in the lab. It was this very strange time. I got there in 2003, and a lot of the work that was super technical, looked ... the only way I can describe it is as if a computer threw up on your body. It’s just like, let’s just turn it inside out and strap it down and then it’s wearable. These were amazing technologies, but in the context of what it meant to be wearable and from the essence of what fashion designing is, it was just not doing that, and there was a lot of tension between the traditional fashion world and what was being called wearable electronics. At the time in the Media Lab, we got together a group, some people from Harvard, Parsons, RISD, and threw our own little computational couture fashion show called Seamless, which was wildly successful. This was sort of this idea that’s time had come. I think we had a $300 budget, we had a runway in the basement of the Media Lab and we ended up on the cover of iD Magazine. It made us realize, okay, this is “a thing”. I went on to curate more and more of these computational couture shows because I was fascinated with what artists and designers could do with this as a medium. Let’s try to learn from, as I was, all the super techie people that were around the Media Lab, and turn it into different kinds of design prototypes, which embody concepts that the public really relates to, either conceptually or functionally, or just in terms of beauty and aesthetics.
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I went on and did a whole series at the Boston Museum of Science on Seamless and then a series at SIGGRAPH called Unravel. What was so fascinating, we had these incredible devices and high concepts around performance, and a lot of talk about mobility and being out in the street and all this kind of stuff. What was really funny is, before the beginning of the runway show, every single time, every designer and their model was gathered around the power strips. It got to be kind of joke that I had to bring twenty power strips so everybody could charge their stuff. It was like, how mobile are you? Can you make it down the runway? I got really interested in energy and the absurdity of what we were trying to do and how that was absolutely the limiting factor for so many of these ideas. I think that conceptually, most people think about energy as being and access where our energy is actually coming from ... is it wind, are we burning coal? You can’t make any decisions around it. It’s completely invisible and it’s intangible to us. Just thinking through this conceptually from a design perspective, there is a project which I very much admire called Energy Features from Dunn & Raby, two conceptual designers who run a program at the Royal College of Art in London. They were thinking, what if you feed hamsters to your TV? That’s a different energy, it’s not just electricity. The body is energy, food is energy. If we take a more human centric point of view around energy, what does it mean to think about different jumping off points and putting the human body in the center. Are there different paths and directions. Being really naïve about energy harvesting, I just kind Piezing. It was a piezoelectric dress that had these discs which were a harder much softer but created much less energy.
The idea being that piezoelectrics are generally used in speaker systems, which is how I’d used them, to put in a voltage and they vibrate and make sound. I was going to use them backwards so that they’d vibrate on the body and then we’d save the energy. I started looking at how much we can make and I had this little test circuit that I could shake around and the LED would turn on to indicate if it worked. But what was interesting to me was how do you deconstruct the body as a mechanical organism. I think one of the most fascinating things about this was that everybody kept asking me, “Oh, so you’re collecting energy, does the dress light up?” I was like, “No, you’re not getting it.” The whole point is to save the energy, to charge something else that’s useful. No one wants their dress to light up. Anyway, that is a whole other question about wearable technology. I started looking around at research in the space, and Dava Newman, an MIT professor working on a new bio suit for space, was they don’t stretch, but you want to use them around all of the joints of the body where you want the stretch. The tighter they’re tied down, the more vibration you’ll get, but then the person can’t move. She was looking back at her papers at this research called the lines of non-extension from the ‘70s, which was examining how you create a three-dimensional mapping across the body of all the places where
My inspiration for the future of this piece, and the way that I wanted to talk about it as a concept, was to take something like piezo nathat to a three-dimensional weaving pattern. This was where, from a conceptual point of view, this dress makes sense because in the version that I had, it was like, walk 5 miles to get 0.1 volts. I never quite did the whole calculation of the dress, but I did have the separate elements which conceptually show that the material can create energy. I did get a couple of volts after many wears of the dress.
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This piece was in a couple of exhibitions, and I got contacted by a choreographer in Paris, Prue Lang. She had been a principal dancer with Bill Forsyth’s dance company, and she was going out on her own and doing very interesting contemporary dance. She was also interested in energy and the mechanics of the body. She wanted to try to make a completely sustainable dance performance, which means that all of the energy for the lights and sound of the show were generated from the dancer’s movements, that she could actually choreograph this around what we needed. We met a couple of times and started thinking through how this would work. What was really fascinating to me, as someone who had worked between art and science a lot, was that this was one of the purest experiences I’ve had where the art and the science were literally informing each other. There is a whole choreography sequence around these macaroons on the ground. Basically, the dancers would eat and then dance and then they move and then they would trade off their energy. There is a narrative that’s a lot more conceptually complicated from an artistic point of view, but just to understand how the performance worked, the grid shrunk as the performance went on, and we had a matching LED grid above that would then shrink, in terms of focus. ally make energy and I was like, “okay, we’re not using this piezoelectric stuff. I can’t get enough of anything.” I literally went back to solar that also collected energy from the inside, and then back driving stepper motors so you’re creating an electromechanical charge. Very big movements, but this is a dance performance so we’re very lucky. This was the whole point of it, to choreograph around what we needed. I made some stuff, spent a week with them in the dance studio, just literally taping stuff onto them, duct taping, seeing how stuff works. Have them dance for ten minutes, run a test, check if we are we getting anything. It was incredibly iterative and completely trial and error based.
One was this track roller system with a stepper motor that stored energy into a small lithium battery. The second one was basically put these all across the arms and legs and have a particular dance sequence. That was actually the best we were getting. If we hit that frequency, I didn’t need to know what it was, but the dancers knew intuitively in their body. That was getting the biggest surge. Then were recollecting the energy that we’re generating from the rest of it. The way the system worked is that there was an exercise bicycle which was also part of the performance. The dancers were in this rotation, so the bicycle provided direct power to the LEDs, and then what we’re getting off the bodies was exchange power, battery power into the sound system. A huge part of making this work was also The sound was pretty bad on purpose. We were literally going back to, “Does anybody have a Walkman from the ‘80s?” I had all these plans to cover the modules very intricately, but Prue saw them and she was like, “No, we’re keeping them exposed”. The positioning on the body was based on how the choreography worked and moved. There are all these other questions about hard / soft, especially with these kinds of modules, but that’s what’s so exciting about what Dan is doing, putting the actual battery into weren’t trying to develop that. But in a sense, that does become the essence of making something wearable to me. But this was also fun because they became these little appendages. It actually became a huge part of the performance, like they were performing with these sort of body objects. The whole idea was that it builds, it starts out very slow with very little energy. The person’s manically biking. As they start eating more, the movements get much faster and then it starts to get much quicker movements,
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arms and you could hear this beautiful clicking noise. They became part of the instrument, actually. She took music out of some of the sequences on purpose. In the end, they just ended up in a spotlight. All the light had gone by the time they ate all the macaroons. Since then, we took this to Ars Electronica and then Prue has continued the project. What is interesting about it is she wanted to have this project to be part of a bigger idea about theater and to make a sustainability rider because she had spent her life for twenty years traveling the world with this dance company and thinking how crazy it was how many people and staff they were carting from city to city. She was interested in all of these local notions around how do you actually have more sustainable theater. She made a rider about how far people could travel to be in a performance, but anyway, it ended up that it designed me out of the project because there was no way still consulting, but I like that I managed to be part of something that I designed myself out of.
INTEL LEC TUAL PROP ERTY IN FASH ION TECH
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH February 26, 2014 From digital fabrication and mass customization, to open source design and DIY fashion, emerging approaches to technology development within wearables and fashion are beginning to impact the way designnature of digital content constantly raises questions about authorship and copyright, whether referring to the music industry or any other cultural product. Designers and entrepreneurs in wearable technology face the same question â€“ to patent or not to patent. Perhaps wearable tech startups can learn something from the fashion industry, where knockoffs are a given, brand identity is foremost, and the persistent, rapid rate of change functions as an attempt to render these IP issues a moot point. In the following discussion, a panel of legal experts, conservators, entrepreneurs, and curators explore opportunities and obstacles facing the emerging wearable / fashion tech industry, where the rules of intellectual property are still to be written. PANELISTS JONATHAN ASKIN is a professor and founder of Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic at Brooklyn Law School where he works with law students to support innovative technology startups. NIGEL HOWARD is a lawyer and partner at Covington & Burling LLP where he focuses on intellectual property, technology, and data issues for startups and major corporations. SARAH SCATURRO is head conservator at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where she is responsible for the preservation of the Museumâ€™s collection of costumes and accessories. LIZ BACELAR is the founder of Decoded Fashion, a global event series focused on connecting decision-makers in fashion, beauty, and retail with emerging technologies. Panel moderated by Sabine Seymour.
Jonathan Askin: What my students and I do is we try to represent renegade creators who are trying to do ventures that the law hasn’t anticipated. It’s a very interesting place to be. It’s particularly scary for young lawyers who just want to know what the law is. I keep telling my students that this is a great time and place to be a young lawyer because you’re going to be inventing the law as you progress in your career. It’s particularly true in the case of wearable tech. When I was asked to speak on this panel, I was intimidated. I said, tech.” Then I thought for a minute. You know what, no one does. It’s completely untouched terrain, and those of us who are playing in this space are the pioneers and we will shape the laws and policies that will govern this space for decades to come, which is a pretty impressive place for us to be.
room at Eyebeam. I didn’t know what the hell wearable tech was, but Ayah Bdeir was a fellow here and then she launched a company called littleBits. She just got many, many millions of dollars to open up retail spaces for littleBits. If you don’t know what littleBits is it’s essentially open source electronic Legos that allows you to build whatever you want electronically. It’s really sensational stuff. I was here at Eyebeam and she shows me her undergarments. She capabilities of wearable tech. It was underwear that you wear when you go through detectors at the airport and it records and photographs and monitors the activities of the TSA and their treatment of with wearable tech was a very positive one. This was going to allow citizens to watch government, citizens to watch corporations. Now, it’s changed over the past seven years and maybe we’ll get into some of the privacy aspects perhaps. We’ll probably stick mostly
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
thrilled to be back. I think I know a little bit more than I knew seven years ago. As an attorney, Nigel as an attorney, we’re at best, the one eyed person in the world of the blind. We don’t know what the future holds and we are here as sort of guides to work with you as we try to work through the morass of legal and technological issues. Nigel Howard: I’m also a lawyer like Jonathan but I work in private practice. I represent both big companies and small companies / startups. My practice focuses on three areas: intellectual property, technology, and data. I’m including the data as the privacy issues. I’m a transactional lawyer so I do deals that revolve around those assets. companies such as Microsoft and Samsung and Facebook. We also represent fashion houses and clothing companies. I’ve been lucky to do work both with Microsoft and Patagonia. I love Patagonia. I love Microsoft too. It’s very interesting for me now seeing these two worlds colliding more and more. I’ve just always loved great design and the intersection of the two worlds is just really fascinating. You probably wouldn’t think necessarily that airline companies would be relevant tions I’ve come across for some of my clients have actually been for tech in particular, things like Google Glass. Sarah Scaturro: My main job is to ensure the preservation of the art that we both collect and that we borrow and put on exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. You might think, why am I here, Sabine, it was like, “Oh gosh. What do I know about IP?” You’d be surprised that issues dealing with IP do actually enter my daily sphere. The main question is how can I preserve this? How can
Image: Bud Kilpatrick, Action Suit, 1963. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
I protect this artwork? If it’s damaged or decaying or if it exhibits something that we call “inherent vice,” which is a wonderful term which describes a characteristic inherent in the garment or the object that is contributing to its decay. How do I stop that? You might think technological fashion is a new concept or at least from the ‘70s or ‘80s. But we have a dress in our collection from the 1920s by Patou called “Advertising” (1925), it’s been around for almost a century. That’s a double entendre, both the light at the top of the Eiffel Tower lights up. So it’s advertising for the Eiffel Tower and Paris, but maybe it’s advertising for the woman. She’s kind of showing off. When I encounter an object like this, I’m charged with preserving it and I don’t have any of the plans included. I don’t know exactly how it goes together. I’m not an engineer so of course that means I have to consult with people working today. We’ve got this other piece in our collection [Bud Kilpatrick’s “Action Suit”, 1963] that came from the Brooklyn Museum collection when we acquired it. It includes a mini vacuum cleaner, a little rotisserie, everything a woman needs for action. This suit was created in the early ‘60s but it was meant to envision what fashion would be and needed to be in 1970. I do have some exciting, almost analog components, computational fashion in the sense of technology merging with fashion. A few years ago, we acquired Iris van Herpen’s 3D printed “Skeleton” dress (2012). When we collected this, this was a whole other basket that I just sat and I looked at it. If you look at it, this is a frightening piece. It’s incredibly fragile. This is the only one that exists. This got me started talking with the curator and other people in my department and we said, “Can we collect the code? Is the code the object? Is this the object?”
Which leads to issues of authenticity and ethics. I am ethically bound to protect and preserve this piece. If something were to happen to it and we had to replace the component what is the more ethical path that we choose? Do we handcraft something? Do I somehow get the code and then be able to print a replacement part? It led to all of these questions. Which brought me to this area of also discussing with our digital media department and the designer herself. These are questions that I’ve started including whenever we are looking now into collecting 3D fashion – collecting the code. Who owns the copyright? Who’s allowed to print? Am I allowed to print should anything happen? If I do print, could I even print? Do I have a printer that would work? What is the resolution? What is the base material? All of these questions are things that if you are going to be giving a piece to a museum or to a collector or if you’re looking to collect these pieces, then you might want to take this into consideration. Liz Bacelar: As Decoded Fashion, we curate the world for entrepreneurs for interesting technology that is emerging. We usually say Pre Series A, so before they raise some major sum of money. We connect and showcase them, connecting them with top brands. I do this by creating events that are very creative and push the boundaries. We have two kinds of events, one of which are large summits. As Condé Nast was part of it. The way I did the hackathon was different. We ended the hackathon, which is a competition over twenty tents at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, between Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. We stopped the tents for three hours and we did a technology summit. It was completely out of the ordinary. Then we got Zac Posen – who’s the most technology-minded person you can think of, right? No, not really – to be the judge of the hackathon, because it was really about technology speaking to the designer and not the
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
designer feeling intimidated. It’s not the designer being judged by his technology knowledge, but the technology actually capturing his imagination and being wanted. The other side of what we do are meetups, monthly events that we do all the time. We create environments like this in which we bring some of the best founders that are out there right now at the moment, some undiscovered. We start the meetup with a panel of experts and they pitch for ten minutes what’s their next great idea. Another thing that we do is the mentorship hub. We’re bringing it to South By Southwest (SXSW) this year. I saw the need to bring more fashion content. The way that I’m doing that is by bringing all the mentors that I could grab, all of the heads of digital of all the brands, luxury, retail, they’re there every year, and to make them available to anyone who attends, badge holders, and they’ll be mentors for you. What I want to say quickly about IP is that fashion and technology are completely different the way they see it. It’s funny, when Sabine fashion – we are the ones who really see this thing right. Then when you start digging, actually fashion has a lot to teach tech about IP, and how they embrace it and how they thrive around the challenges. A garment is not something that could be guarded with IP the way technology or code is. They have to be very inventive. They have to be very creative and I’ll talk later about what’s the result of that. Sabine: Speaking of that, Nigel, what’s the difference? We’re talking about patents, design patents, IP. What is IP, copyright? Nigel: There’s lot of different types of intellectual property rights and the systems exist in each country. There’s a different system in every country you go to. There’s one important thing to keep in mind that whatever protections you might obtain in the United States don’t necessarily automatically apply in other countries.
There are certain international conventions between countries which do allow a certain amount of reciprocity. But one of the most important things that you need to take on board is that when you try and protect something with intellectual property, you have to think in terms of national rights and if you have something that’s commercially important around the world, you’d have to receive the same kind of protections in each country you want to sell your product in. There are two types of patent in the United States that are relevant for fashion. They’re quite different types of patent. There’s the design patent and the utility patent. A design patent protects new non-obvious, non-functional ornamental items. For example, there’s a Lululemon design patent that has actually been quite controversial. The design of the belt on an exercise pants was something that Lululemon thought was commercially important enough that they applied to get a design patent. This aspect of the design on the pant is really ornamental. It’s to create the aesthetic of the pants rather than actually hold the pants up. What’s really interesting about design patents is historically they have been terribly important for fashion. One of the main reasons is because fashion changes so quickly. It takes actually quite some time to obtain a design patent, usually about eighteen months. If you spend a lot of money, take eighteen months, and then the ornamental design is no longer fashionable, then you just wasted your time and money. Increasingly, because of the advent of technology, ornamental aspects of fashion and design seem to have a longer life to them. So big companies are starting to really invest in design patents. There was also a change in the law relatively recently which made it a lot easier to enforce design patents against infringers. There used to be a test that you had to satisfy before you would succeed in your case to enforce the design patent and that was rejected in 2008. Ever since then, companies have applied for more design patents.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
The Lululemon case was controversial because Calvin Klein brought out a much cheaper pair of pants with a similar kind of belt, and tled out of court, but it’s a good example of how design patents have become much more important in the fashion world. The second type, the utility patent, covers new non-obvious useful inventions. If the design patent is for something that’s ornamental, the utility patent is something that’s useful, functional. This is by far the largest category of patents that exist. When you normally think of patents in the technology arena, it’s the utility patent you think of. What a utility patent does is give the owner the exclusive right to make, use, and sell the particular product or service or process that’s the subject of the patent. It gives a legal monopoly to the owner of the patent, as does the design patent, but it’s to the particular ornamental design that’s the subject of the patent. A design patent lasts for fourteen years and a utility patent lasts for twenty, somewhat confusingly. The time periods are calculated from different points. For utility patent, it’s twenty years from the date you applied. For design, it’s fourteen years from when you get the patent. There’s a whole reason for that which we won’t go into. One of the things I want to leave you with about the patents, which I think is really important to take on board is that these are legal monopolies that these rights can give you, but that doesn’t mean that you’re actually going to have a monopoly in practice. These rights are not inexpensive to obtain. They’re only worth pursuing if you’ve got something that’s commercially important. To give you an order of magnitude, a design patent might cost several thousands to apply for. A utility patent can easily run $10,000. the application process inevitably costs more money as well. Easily, a utility patent application just in the United States can cost $30,000.
Image: Iris van Herpen & Isaie Bloch, Skeleton Dress, 2011. From the collection of The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Ingrid Baars.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
Jonathan: I want to try a quick case study if Nigel is willing to go through this with me. I think we have two perfect examples where we can dissect the differences between patents, copyright, and trademark, beyond just utility and design patents. We got the Lululemon thing there and the Iris van Herpen 3D printed dress there. I think those are perfect examples of the growing confusion between patents, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets in a fashion context. The Lululemon thing, when you showed that to me, I thought, I assume Lululemon is going to probably seek trademark and then secondarily, copyright and then third, utility patent on it. Did Lululemon allege any copyright violations, trade dress or trademark violations, or did they really just stick with the design patent? Nigel: The case just focused on the design. It’s very interesting to me because in many ways some of the tests that are examined as part of the infringement analysis for a design patent is very similar to trademark. There are even overlaps with copyright because the test is is there substantial similarity, which again, is a copyright concept. I actually don’t know why they thought the design patent – and they applied for a number of different design patents – why they thought this would be a particularly effective means of protection. We don’t know what the ultimate outcome of the case was because it was settled. It certainly had some degree of chilling effect on what Calvin Klein was doing, so that is success in itself. Jonathan: Then if I could follow-up with the Iris van Herpen 3D printed dress, if you were the attorney, what would you recommend to the designer-inventor of the 3D printed dress? This, to me, can go in any number of ways. There’s certainly some trade secret issues conceivably, if it’s all code that don’t you want to share. There’s copyright issues, both in the code that’s developed and in the actual
Sarah: When I talked to Iris’ team, essentially the copyright is owned by her, and the future copyrights for printing more dresses is also owned by her, and only she can do that. Jonathan: There’s two layers of copyright there. The copyright in the
Sarah: The Metropolitan Museum of Art now owns that dress. Then of course there’s the Visual Artists Rights Act that we’re now charged with protecting it and making sure that it represents her work. Nigel: But that wouldn’t apply to the code now would it? Sarah: No. Nigel: So I wonder for the code whether Fair Use Doctrine would be relevant.
protected and it’s just reprinted because it’s an additive manufacturing process that requires code, but the actual piece itself is the piece that is in the museum and not the code. But in this case, Iris is holding the copyright on the actual code. Those are all the things that I think are going to be very interesting not only for 3D printing but for any type of manufacturing process. Jonathan: Frankly, with the code, unless it was open-sourced, it’s subject to copyright, at least common law copyright, even it hasn’t been federally registered. Sarah: Just to clarify, two of the reasons why we wanted to collect the code is, one, potentially in the future that might be a way where we could generate this object again or piece of the object if ever needed. The second was purely for research purposes, so that ten years,
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available for researchers coming. We’re still in discussion. We don’t have the code at all. We just have the beautiful dress. Liz: Fashion doesn’t have the protection. There are two things that I think about IP in fashion. First is the inspiration. They use inspiration from previous designs to create new designs. There is always someone saying that someone copied from someone. It’s just the culture of creation between artists in fashion. Another layer to add to that is the aspiration. It makes the industry really engage in the race for the better product and it makes the industry stronger. They create aspirational products. Of course, Chanel is very worried about Chanel bags being 3D printed out in China, one day, unfortunately. They’re worried about the perception that that’s their item. But the look of the item, they know they cannot hold on to it. That’s the whole scheme with Forever 21. There are a few brands that I cannot engage with because the moment that I put them in the room, a whole number of people will not show up to my events if they’re there because of this dynamic. There are the brands that are perceived as the serial stealers of designs. They create this branding that’s really strong, the brand experience. That’s a lesson that tech has learned very recently, that technology should not just be a product, software should not just be code, it should be UI. If you think about Pinterest, it’s almost like the genesis of taking UI very seriously. Maybe you can make an argument that others before them created better UI, but Pinterest sent a very strong signal that design is intertwined with tech when it comes down to traction and something that stays. When it comes down to IP and Pinterest, you should know that Pinterest stole the idea from somebody else. Pinterest was, I think, the third iteration of that concept. When I say Pinterest, you know
exactly what I’m talking about – the squares, right? A new visual way to communicate data / imagery. They just executed it more beautifully, and that made it stay. That was their IP. I don’t think Pinterest has that trademarked or copyrighted because or something like that, which was so fascinating because Pinterest was so caught up in iterating the product in the US market that this other one went ahead, took the same interface, and executed it in emerging markets. They became huge in China, Brazil, Russia. Pinterest was, two years later, thinking how can we launch in China, and there was this other one there that was huge already. That happens a lot in tech. Then what happens, the company that did the rip-off, they already knew that their goal was never to be Pinterest, their goal was just to be acquired by Pinterest, just to create a nuisance, a way for acquisition. That happens all the time in tech. It’s just an inevitable situation. That’s how they handle IP, they just buy the other. The other side of tech is the side of IP heavy. It’s when companies sue the other. The giants do that all the time. They really hold on to all kinds of legal safeguards. The little guys that are emerging, and there are so many of them, they sometimes make the mistake ... When founders sit across from a venture capitalist and they say, “I need you to believe in me. I need a million dollars. This is the next big thing.” Then the VC says, “This sounds a little non-defendable to me. How can you protect this creation?” Let’s say it’s the LED garment that you’re wearing [points to audience member]. How do you protect that? I can just put LED in a garment tomorrow. Why should I invest in your brand instead of another brand? Why is my money safe with you? I’m thinking of an actual wearable tech company. This founder, who I love, his answer was the worst possible answer. This is an answer
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I hope you don’t say to an investor. He said to the VC, “I have the patent.” That’s not an answer, because just like Pinterest, it’s not enough of a protection. It’s about traction. That’s much stronger than patent in the technology world. Jonathan: My students and I work with a lot of bootstrapping companies – self-funded, unfunded, minimal. I tell them, come up with
want to get to market, so we can take them all in turn. Frankly, if you’ve got a patent it’s usually going to cost several tens of thousands of dollars. I have nine students this semester that are patent prosecutors. They do it for free, but only for unfunded or bootstrapping, very creative clients with some social value component. There are ways to beg, borrow, and steal even in the patent context. But my attitude is, copyright costs roughly $100 to register, but you can get common law copyright for nothing. It doesn’t allow you to sue in federal court, but for something on the order between $75 and $150, you can copyright stuff. You can copyright packets of images for something a little bit more. That will give you the right to sue. Now, if you’re copyrighting code, for instance, very often people decide, should I just keep this a trade secret and not let anyone else see my code or should I copyright it and let it be there at the copyright
The answer to that is, if you’re going to do a federal registered copyright, you can hash out the code so people can’t actually see the code. Another great little trick if you want to claim something, even common law copyright protection – almost all coders do it, mapmakers do it – put a little imperfection in it. So if it ever becomes a battle and someone says, “I didn’t copy your code”, you say, “Why did you do the exact same bizarre imperfection that I put into that code?”
I’m frankly an “anti-IP” lawyer. I don’t even teach IP law. I’m a technology lawyer and my objective is to pave the way for creative startups. One of the things that I love about the Eyebeam community is so much of it is founded on freeware and open source, and to me that’s a beautiful thing. We’ve come up with some solutions for things like, what about the small inventor who doesn’t have the resources to patent their solution. What can they do and should they be afraid that someone else is going to actually patent their idea and beat them to the patent
Last year on March 15th, America, through the America Invents
someone else invented it beforehand. We’ve got a website now called FirstToDisclose.org that allows people who may not really love the idea of patenting things – they may want ideas to be exposed to the post something. There are other sites like this too, but something like FirstToDisclose, you would post your idea, post your patent, expose it to the world. So now it exists on a site, arguably no one you’ve got some prior art. But it also arguably gives you a one-year lead time, at least in year grace period between the time you expose your invention and that’s a nice little trick for an unfunded or bootstrapping company that doesn’t want to throw all that money into the patent regime. Patent is tough. It’s tricky if you have to pay for it. Trademark, I’m dubious about suggesting that early stage startups trademark immediately. You get a common law trademark just by mere virtue of using your mark in commerce. That’s pretty good. Again, you can’t sue in federal court. You have some rights to sue in state court.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
But my attitude is if you don’t have the money, why even spend the porate and do your IP invention assignment agreements between anyone that’s connected to you and get them all to sign NDAs. That’s
Audience Member #1: There’s a lot of things with 3D printers coming out, where you could take a bracelet, scan it, and then you can print it. When you’re talking about IP and things like that, I guess by the time it would go to court, maybe it’s already sold or sold out, and your thoughts about that and in trying to protect that? Jonathan: We’ve seen rumblings already. There was something that MakerBot had launched called Thing-a-verse where people would put their ideas up and other people would steal their ideas and they would get sued for copyright infringement. I think this is a fascinating place for fashion designers, technologists, and for lawyers to live
I think the law is so uncertain. My advice generally is in a world where the law is suspect, the law doesn’t exist. My attitude is be as courageous as possible. I’ll give you an example. As a young lawyer, I represented a company called Free World Dialup. Has anyone heard of Free World Dialup? I bet no one here has heard of Free World Dialup. Has anyone here heard of a company called Skype? Free World Dialup was Skype before Skype. Every analyst talked about Free World Dialup as this great revolution in peer-to-peer communications using the open internet. But they had an idiot for a lawyer. They had me. I said, “Wait a second. This is a very interesting product. Let’s make sure we can get the proper regulatory authority and make sure we’re not deregulating telecom carriers.”
We submitted a petition to the Federal Communications Commission. In lightning speed, a year-and-a-half or something, the FCC rules that our service is not a telecom service subject to regulation. Meanwhile, these renegade artists, guys who had done Kazaa, weren’t allowed in America, didn’t give a damn about US law, were functioning oversees, and they had a year-and-a-half lead time, and built Skype, which is exactly Free World Dialup with a larger consumer base. I give all credit to Skype for having succeeded in the way that Free World Dialup didn’t. I would say be courageous when the law is uncertain. I don’t know, that may not be the Covington model. Nigel: We represent a number of companies in the enforcement actions for counterfeit goods. For instance we represented Microsoft in the Business Software Alliance in relation to the enforcement activitechnology that crawls the web looking for counterfeit activities. The enforcement world will adapt. Frankly, we’ve been thinking about what does 3D printing really mean. Ultimately big companies are rational too, about people making a one-off or creative people. I mean the whole of creativity, like a lot of Larry Lessing’s writing about how all creativity builds on one another. Big companies are not immune to those same philosophies as well. It’s when it gets to a stage where you’re starting to take the commercial opportunities away from the company that’s invested in building problem. If, in your example, you’re manufacturing thousands of the same bracelet, then you should start to be worried. Jonathan: I think fashion is in a fortunate position that most of these battles have already been fought ahead of time in the context of music and video. Learn from their lessons. If our goal is to be fashion forward, the trick is to be transformative, to mash up ideas.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
You know, all genius rides on the shoulders of giants that preceded it. We do have the emerging problems of taking something and just replicating it. I assume that people in this room are probably more in the transformative art side of that equation. Sarah: We’re starting to actually 3D scan a lot of our objects for digital documentation, research purposes, and perhaps putting on the website, creating animations, etc. This skeleton dress lends itself my rights? Jonathan: This is the legal third rail. My students and I have a client that has a full-body 3D scanner – there are three of these in the world. Now, you’ve probably seen the (Microsoft Xbox) Kinect devices that don’t really work that well and you have to stand pretty still. You walk in, it’s like the next generation photo booth/MRI machine and it creates a perfect replica of yourself. cations are bizarre. A 12-year-old girl goes into a 3D scanner and the do if they claim IP rights? You’re probably releasing IP rights to the cas of you. I think there probably is an important policy battle to say that you have rights in your own autonomy and likeness. This would require probably a change in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Liz: People get so excited about 3D printers and they forget that the printers are twenty years old. When I see 3D printing, I think of aircraft and medical uses. I don’t think of that Iris van Herpen dress. What makes me think about that dress is materials and how the materials are the exciting part with 3D printing. That sounds cool to you, but what is so much more exciting is where it’s going from there. That’s where my mind is right now.
Audience Member #2: My question is how will open source hardware
Liz: There’s a project I’m working on right now. It’s a couple that came up with a wearable tech concept and they wanted to present it to a fashion designer. I introduced them to a designer. It’s one of those things that they don’t have a patent on it. It’s such a good go to market without a partner. They’re going to have this partner meeting. They could steal the idea, so what do we do? They’re talking to this fashion designer. They’re developing the product together. They’re going to launch it in the fall. Here’s my advice to you. I think you need to decide one thing: Are you the one going to market with it or do you need a partner? Do you need a vehicle for that? If you’re just a hardware creator, if you don’t have a vision, if you’re not the company in the B2C kind of way, I think you need to really take a breath and protect yourself. Get legal advice and go very carefully. When you take these meetings with designers – and now, the designers are getting more and more tech savvy – they have tech teams and they’re starting to behave more like Burberry and Apple. When you take meetings, you better know your shit because they’re going to run with it. If they feel that they had a meeting with someone that cannot deliver, they’re going to say “Great idea. I don’t think I’m going to partner with them, so who can build this for me?” and that’s the way they operate. I’m not saying Burberry steals ideas. I’m saying that Burberry has the power of execution. If you’re going to bring an idea to the table for Burberry, you better know how to execute and prove it so they see value in you as a partner. Just don’t throw your idea around. Be careful who you expose your idea to. One thing that I want to just throw out there is that I hear a lot about 3D printing as mass production. Don’t jump to that conclu-
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHIONTECH
sion. 3D printing is not mass production. I don’t know if you’ve seen something being printed. They’re not taking jobs away. They’re just creating different kinds of jobs. It takes a shitload of people to print development, then you have this huge printer – don’t be distracted by MakerBot. MakerBot is not mass production – then you have the person who takes the thing out of the powder, polishes it up, and it takes a lot of people. 3D printing is a luxury. It’s something very special. It’s one of a kind and it’s expensive. I think that it’s going to get better and faster, but I think that element of 3D printing is not going to change for many, many years.
have ever had a need to consult a lawyer? How many of you have never had a need to consult a lawyer? Almost all of you have had a need to consult a lawyer. Those of you that had a need to consult a lawyer, were you scared, reluctant, was it the last resort, “Oh my God. I got to speak to a lawyer. They’re going to tell me I can’t do this and they’re going to screw up everything I was planning to do”? Is that the general MO? Does anyone disagree with that? I think that’s what used to be everyone’s general conception of a lawyer – they’re at best, a necessarily evil. Their objective is to either help you when you’re in trouble or troubleshoot beforehand. My hope now is that with this complex area, you’re going to have the lawyers upfront but they’re not going to be so much what I call a “yeah-but” lawyers. They’re going to be “why not” lawyers. They’re going to be enablers. They’re going to be your partners, the people who are going to guide you through the morass of legal confusions and jurisdictional confusions.
That’s what I hope you can take away from this, that if you can get give you reasonable guidance you’re going to be better off. Nigel: I think what Jonathan says is right. The lawyers really can and do play an important role in facilitating things to happen. It’s the reason why I did litigation to start my career. You basically spend all day trying to kill each other. What I liked about working with entrepreneurs and scientists is that you created things and you actually helped that to take place. We have talked about proprietary rights and that’s creating barriers and stopping sharing. But it’s also creating control so you can share in the way that you want to and have the partners you want to in business. Ultimately, when putting your life savings at risk, and all your sweat and labor, and you’re hiring people, you need protections so that you can build a company and build a business to make more jobs for people. I think this has really been a fascinating topic. I feel like I’m learning a lot listening to everybody else on the panel and the audience and it’s been fun to participate. Sarah: I’m going to talk about legacy. Say you have succeeded and the Met wants to collect your work or some museum or collector does. Be free with your information. We’re the ones preserving your legacy, so maybe while you’re alive, the copyright and patent and everything can preserve your work to a sense, but we’re the ones that will be maintaining your legacy. In terms of conserving it, what’s always helpful is you can converse with the conservators or curators and state your wishes for this piece of art or object if it ever had to be conserved. Liz: I want to speak as a bridge. Right now the landscape is, technology loves solving problems. They thrive around pain points. When it comes down to fashion and technology, the technology side doesn’t
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really understand the fashion industry. They don’t understand the pain points. So if you are in fashion, think about your challenges and your problems and reach out to the technology community and verbalize that to them. Do not underestimate the power of that, because they don’t know what you go through. At the Hackathon, fashion designer Rachel Roy, who was very humble about what she knew about tech, just said, “I wish someone could build an app that did X.” It was something so simple, it pivoted the entire room, and the app that won the Hackathon was the one that solved that problem, and it solved it beautifully. If you’re a tech mind in the room, do not underestimate how much you need to learn to thrive in the fashion industry, to not be caught up by your arrogance of knowing that you know the next big thing. You’re just different. It’s a different kind of knowledge. You need the other side. If you were to pitch that concept, whatever it is, to a fashion mind, learn their language and communicate. Here’s a challenge: Try to say the whole story without using any jargon. In my Hackacould not use the word “engineer” and “dev”. It became really hard. It was actually quite fun to speak in plain English, in a way that you could sell an idea to a non-tech mind. So learn the other side.
COMPUTATIONAL FASHION HONORARY FELLOW THE DUKODE STUDIO is a NYCbased design group specializing in spatial visualization and wearable prototypes. Its principals, Arlene Ducao and Illias Koen are collaborating with knitwear designer Josue Diaz on MindRider, a brainreading bike helmet system that generates health data and health sense-making at individual and regional scale. Image: The DuKode Studio, MindRider, 3D printed bicycle helmet prototype, 2014.
EVENTS 2012 Presentations – Introduction to Computational Fashion 2013 Presentations – Fashion Innovations in 3D Printing Presentations – Smart Textiles: Fashion That Responds Site Visit – Materialise Workshop – 3D Printing for Fashion Workshop – Wearable Technology & Fashion with Intel Exhibition – Carrie Mae Rose: Light as a Feather Presentations – Computational Fashion Fellows Exhibition – Kaho Abe: The Lightning Bug Game Panel – Fashion and the Body Demo Night – Fashion and Wearable Tech Panel – Energy on the Body 2014 Panel – Intellectual Property in Fashiontech Workshop – Tech+Textile: Intro to Wearable Electronics Master Class – 3D Printed Fashion Exhibition – Matter that Moves: 3D Printed Fashion Panel – Wearing Technology: Psychological Impact of Tech on the Body Salon – Where Digital Bespoke Meets Traditional Craft 2015 Upcoming Meetups Master Class – 3D Printed Fashion / Soft Computation Conference and Exhibition
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COMPUTATIONAL FASHION FELLOW KEREN OXMAN is an artist and designer working at the intersection of art, fashion, and fabrication technology. Her research project Specimens studies the development of generative textile morphologies through experimental multi-material 3D printing fabrication technology. Developed in consultation with Neri Oxman and W. Craig Carter at MIT. Image: Iris van Herpen, 3D printed dress (detail), in collaboration with Neri Oxman, W. Craig Carter, and Keren Oxman.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks to The Rockefeller Foundation for making Computational Fashion a reality through its Cultural Innovation Fund. Associate Director Edwin Torresâ€™ positivity and encouragement throughout the process was greatly appreciated. Thanks to Duann Scott and Lauren Slowik at Shapeways for their support and creative collaboration on the Summer 2014 Master Class. Thanks as well to all of the Master Class instructors and mentors: Bradley Rothenberg, Casey Rehm, Arthur Young-Spivey, Lisa Kori Chung, Ryan Kittleson, Gabi Asfour, Kathlin Argiro, and Annelie Koller; and to Luke DuBois and De Angela Duff and the staff of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering for hosting the program. The Master Class and culiminating exhibition that took place during NY Fashion Week in September 2014 were supported in part by CNL Mannequins, Joseph Cady Events, and Formlabs. Program development of Computational Fashion was aided by our expert group of advisors listed on the following page. Finally, we would like to thank all of the designers, researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs who participated as presenters, panelists, and instructors in our events at Eyebeam and throughout New York City.
CREDITS PROGRAM STAFF PATRICIA C. JONES, Executive Director PAUL AMITAI, Project Director ERICA KERMANI, Director of Education Program Assistant: LaJuné McMillian Event Videography: Fivel Rothberg Event Photography: Christine A. Butler Web Design: Project Projects Publication Design: Paul Amitai
ADVISORS SABINE SEYMOUR, Chair KAHO ABE GABI ASFOUR MADI BJORGVINSSON JINTU FAN LIMOR FRIED ADI GIL KATHERINE ISBISTER JENNIFER MINNITI CARRIE MAE ROSE BRADLEY ROTHENBERG SARAH SCATURRO JOHANNE SHEPLEY SIFF LAUREN SLOWIK DAN STEINGART BECKY STERN PHIL TORRONE
PARTNERS Shapeways NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering The New School School of Visual Arts, Products of Design / Visible Futures Lab Materialise Soho House
SUPPORTERS Computational Fashion is supported in part by The Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund New York City Department of Cultural Affairs New York State Council on the Arts The Atlantic Foundation CNL Mannequins Joseph Cady Events Formlabs
COMPUTATIONAL FASHION fashion.eyebeam.org
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COMPUTATIONAL FASHION is an Eyebeam initiative bringing together artists, fashion designers, scientists, and technologists to explore and develop new work at the intersection of fashion and technology. fashion.eyebeam.org
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