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08. 06. 2005

From Outer Space

Very recently I was told that a prominent leader in the integration of fashion and technology had referred to me as a person who "knows everything about the history of wearables." I laughed. My knowledge of the area is of the sort that any rabid fan acquires, and long before I was making my own fashion and technology hybrids, I was an obsessive fangirl, throwing as much enthusiasm into covering other's creations as I do now into my own. One person whose work I absolutely adore is Elise Co, with whom I had the priviledge of sharing a special sessions panel at Siggraph 2005, titled Extreme Fashion.

Elise's presentation was just great, giving practical insight into the process of making technologically augmented clothing and accessories, bringing us all right to the frontlines of electronics, programming, garment construction, and home-oven electroluminescent silkscreen panel-baking. The design philosophy she espoused was rooted in simplicity, a sharp turn from her previous work at the MIT Media Lab at the Aesthetics and Computation Group, yet one that she has been following for quite some time with the Puddlejumper raincoat and the newer Lumiloop (in collaboration with Nikita Pashenkov.)

UFOs, a new collaboration with Pashenkov is comprised of an ordinary pair of sneakers that have been modified with an extra bumper. Using an embedded accelerometer each shoe is able to detect its position in 3d space, illuminating with tri-color LEDs. The idea is that each wearer might have their own stride, and therefore individualized light pattern. In addition to appearing in Elise's presentation, the UFOs made their way down the runway at the Siggraph 2005 Cyberfashion Show and looked amazing. They were very simple, yet they worked. A long time ago I predicted on my personal blog that Elise would be a designer to watch for making fashion/tech items that people would actually want. I still stand by my prediction. Just wait and see...

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