I was a little surprised to read a blog in MIT Technology Review online from 31 January 2008 about “the melding of technology and fashion.”
What was surprising to me was not the concept that technology could be used to enhance fashion, because certainly we would expect that technology would enable faster, better, and cheaper processes for manufacturing garments, and perhaps even aid the development of garments from new high-tech materials that can protect from sunlight, remove sweat and odor, or wear better, last longer, and protect the wearer from any and all hazards (fire retardant, bullet proof, maybe even crash resistant).
However, this particular blog was not about any of those things. Rather, the blog was about “wearable technologies” demonstrated at the Seamless: Computational Coulture fashion show.
What types of fashion technologies are we talking about?
- Shape-changing dresses
- Music-playing sweaters
- Jackets that display text messages with light emitting diodes
- Glow in the dark clothes made from organic solar cells
- Skirts that use kinetic energy to power gadgets
- Rings that “display a wearer’s Google hits”
- Shirts that “reflects Wi-Fi strength
The end of the blog states, the fashion show was “entertaining and electrifying.”
The blog acknowledges that “many of these designs will never reach the market.” Yet, even the very concept of many of these wearable technologies seems useless, if not outright silly. And maybe that’s the point, silly gets attention and that is what fashion designers want.
From a User-centric enterprise architecture perspective give me the Star Trek uniform that can be worn in any weather, atmosphere, or on any planet in the solar system and I call that high-tech fashion. Beam me up Scotty.