Collaboration is key
(For Pauline van Dongen)
Wearable technology has been going through many phases over the years. Every phase has its own characteristics, achievements and challenges. These challenges are there to be solved and generate development. Some of them require years and countless efforts to turn into probable solutions. This ongoing dialogue between two contrary nouns was one of the topics of discussion during this week’s masterclass given by Pauline van Dongen and Annemarie Commandeur at the Modefabriek.
In contrast to many other presentations which tend to build op towards a climax, Annemarie directly handed out a refreshing insight. I quote: “Collaboration is key”. Something that’s unavoidable but often not given enough credit. Pauline made an insightful point that the fashion industry should adopt other industries and therefore the fashion consumer should adopt these industries as well. Going hand in hand with the unknown, taking a risk and combining different expertise is what I have come across the most in this field of wearable technology.
Pauline mentioned the body collaborating with materials and materials collaborating with the environment. “What we tend to overlook is that clothes are worn. Clothes impact on our body both physically as emotionally”. In order for wearables to create a valid market, finding ways to collaborate with people and fulfill human needs in their broadest sense (also taking into account the more unconscious and subtle expressions of our desires) are key. Pauline ended the masterclass with: “Technology is not just a tool, it’s an aesthetic.” This left me with something to think about when debating why the Fashion industry and the wearable industry hasn’t come to an optimal collaboration just yet. Maybe a way forward would be for fashion experts to consider technology as something that offers more than only pure function and for engineers and interaction designers to deepen their understanding of fashion as more than ‘just clothes’ and visual expression. In order for these industries to merge and keep innovating they should lock hands and inspire each other.
A reflection on the Modefabriek by Britta Flinterman