Be honest – how many of all clothes you own do you were regularly? There’s a fair chance you have at least one item of clothing in your wardrobe that you haven’t even worn once. As a society, we own four times as many clothes as we did 20 years ago, but regularly only wear about 20% of them. A new project from academics from Birmingham City University is hoping to change that.
Senior Future Media lecturer Mark Brill and his team are working on a concept of a connected wardrobe that addresses the problem of unworn clothes by reminding you to wear them or to give them away to charity. The Internet of Clothes sees garments tagged using washable contactless technology, known as radio-frequency identification (RFID). The idea is that the clothes will monitor the frequency of wear and if they are not used for a certain time period, will notify their user to either wear them or think about giving them away to charity.
Talking about the project, Brill explained that the connected wardrobe is“a practical, engaging concept encouraging people to think about their clothing consumption.”He hopes that it will result in more ethical fashion consumption.“Perhaps we can even move away from the idea of ‘ownership’ of clothing, to simply using them as long as we need them. When we’ve worn them enough, the items will pass themselves on to their next keeper to wear,” says Brill.
Overconsumption of clothing is a problem for both the environment and exploitation of those who produce them. Clothing production is highly damaging to the environment, from the petrochemicals used in synthetics to cotton growing, which uses more pesticides than any other crop. Bleaching, dyeing and finishing adds further pollutants to the environment and use considerable energy resources.
The project was shortlisted for a Network for Innovations in Culture and Creativity in Europe (N.I.C.E) Award, organised by the european centre for creative economy (ecce).
We’re very happy to announce that we have partnered with Mark Brill and his team to develop a prototype of the connected wardrobe. We’re also looking for partners to join us on this exciting journey so if you’re a programmer, sustainable fashion designer, a charity or just someone who’s interested in finding out more, get in touch.
Want to partner with us on an upcoming event or invite us to speak? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org