EVENT REPORT | FASHIONTECH AND THE USER EXPERIENCE

EVENT REPORT | FASHIONTECH AND THE USER EXPERIENCE

Image credit: Brooke Roberts Wearables London and INTERLACED came together this month to host an event exploring the intersection of fashion and technology to enhance user experiences. On Wednesday evening, we gathered in the stunning Kingsway Hall Hotel for an inspiring discussion on the latest in the fashiontech space. The event kicked off with Dr. Camille Baker, media artist, curator and researcher, focused on soft circuits, DIY electronics for smart garments and haptic interfaces for performance and mobile media. Baker went back some 15 years and shared some of her initial projects, as well as her latest work, which looks into ways in which performers can benefit from wearables. ‘Dancers are the hyper users of this technology,’ said the UCA reader. She referred to her MIND Touch project, which looked into new understandings of the sensations of ‘liveness’ and ‘presence’ that may emerge in participatory networked performance, using mobile phones and wearables. Another direction in which we can look at wearables is by fusing technology and biology, said Baker. As examples of this, she pointed to Giulia Tomasello’s Bioconductive Skin and Future Flora projects as well as the work of Anna Dumitriu and Kasia Molga. Next up, award-winning digital knitwear designer Brooke Roberts spoke about the need for us to see technology as an enabler and not the whole purpose of fashiontech products. Roberts, who has over a decade of experience as a diagnostic radiographer within the NHS, uses inspiration from scan images of the brain and sinuses to create knitwear using the latest digital knitting technology and yarns. This truly shows how fashion and technology can exist in...
INTERVIEW | CAMILLE BAKER

INTERVIEW | CAMILLE BAKER

The media artist and university lecturer talks about the ethical issues behind emerging technologies and the role of education Bitch, Stitch Make/Perform is the unique name of London’s most intellectual fashion-tech community. The group is a gathering for artistic, research and practice sharing, and aims to bring together people from different industries to discuss soft-circuits, e-textiles, digital fashion and DIY electronics. Camille Baker, its co-founder, is a seasoned arts-and-tech researcher and pioneer, who lectures at the University for the Creative Arts in Digital Media, collaborates in various tech and performance projects, and is working on two books on technology and art that are due in 2016. Primarily interested, but not exclusively, in wearable tech as an  expressive method for performance art, Camille concentrates in the way technology can be embodied and sensed. “For me it’s not so much about ‘fashion’ as it is about [tech-infused] garments that can be used for performative projects, she says”. Art and tech might have been her initial focus of interest but now Camille concentrates on much more than that. And after ten years of exploring new technologies in art and performance, Camille has also begun a journey to drive the industry with her community via meetups, discussions and workshops for designers, engineers and everybody in between. But the group doesn’t just share opinions and projects – it also shares knowledge. Their latest event, for example, was a workshop on photo and thermo dyes on fabric. This way, Camille and Melissa Coleman’s Stitch, Bitch project will take a role that should probably belong to the universities. “I am in a university that has three or four strong fashion courses...