FAB11, that great Fab festival of making, is happening right now in Boston. This year they’ve got an exciting showcase–Digital Fashion & Wearables that concentrates on wearables that are part of the body. That last part is pretty important, because the curator Anastasia Pistofidou of Barcelona’s Fab Lab believes that most wearables focus on separate devices rather than the true integration that is possible with clothing. So, she has selected a variety to show the different approaches possible, offering more education than found with most etextile shows. Although the show is at the Fab festival now, it will be moving to a public showing at the Reggie Lewis Center in MA on Aug. 8th and 9th. So, get your GPS set because this is what you are going to see.
Anastasia is very interested in something most people take for granted in their clothing–seams. All those nooks and crannies where your clothing has been stitched together is a delight of a problem. What if you could create seamless clothing? Anastasia has created laser cut fashions that eliminate the need for a seamstress. Speaking of seamstress, the fashion industry in plagued by the problem of mannequins. They often use the same brand, and they are both bulky and dull. Plus, they are costly to ship if you are doing a show. So, she has developed files to laser cut cardboard into mannequins that have a little more meaning to makers. Plus, they just look downright cool, without taking away from the beauty of the clothing.
Clothing can help recreate feelings, and Kristin Neidlinger of Sensoree is always exploring the mind body connection. Her latest piece is called Goosebumps and seeks to recreate the feeling you get when you are in awe. It’s a mix of inflatable silicone molds, NeoPixels and silver parachute material, but there may be more than just futuristic fun here. She tweeted about a recent article that made the connection between people experiencing the emotion of “awe” and reduced levels of Interleuken-6, which made them healthier. Could our fashions make us healthy? Sounds like an interesting piece to test.
Prosthetic are really becoming more cost effective thanks to makers around the world, but are they practical and are they reaching the people that need them the most? Refugee Open Ware has a different approach, set up a Fab Lab in a refugee camp in Jordan. Not only does this allow for good customization, but it also gives these people an opportunity to collaborate and create their own solutions. Lana Awad, also from Barcelona’s Fab Lab, has been working with this endeavor, specifically in helping to create personalized replacements that mitigate loss of function.
The bag called Taska demonstrates another thoughtfulness in the open source movement–production which honors all cultures. The bag itself is versatile and can be worn in different ways to carry almost anything like groceries, laptops and sports gear. But the designer Ingi Freyr Gudjónsson, created the bag as an open source design incorporating wood and fabric to be easily used. So, someone can download the file and create the bag, offering a simple video of their finished piece as a thank you. If someone does not have the means to make it, they can have a local Fab Lab create it for them. Finally, if they have no Fab Lab in their area they can order it straight from the designer. So, in essence the bag becomes very local allowing someone to manufacture and customize in their own location.
As you can see, there is a lot to digest here. This is Anastasia’s second year for curating the show and she says artists represent Fab Labs around the world including Mexico, Santiago, Israel, Barcelona, Munich and more. It’s all part of a bigger plan to connect wearable artists from around the world to collaborate and problem-solve. So, keep FabTextiles.org on your list. Also, if you feel like you are just all about wearables at this point, you should really invest in a kit that will allow you to make something awesome, and we’ve got it for you–the Getting Started with Adafruit FLORA Book Pack. It’s got the book by Becky Stern that will give you the basics of the FLORA microcontroller. Then, you can dive in with FLORA, NeoPixels, sensors, LED sequins, batteries, snaps, alligator clips and the rest of the fixins. You will create a masterpiece. Then all you have to do is send us a pic so we can make you famous. Get making!
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!