“The future of successful Wearable Technology will be designs that let the wearer control or become part their surroundings”.
Accessibility is where the designers think firstly about what the customer wants from a product and design round this, rather then the customer having to make changes to the item once they have purchased it or having to use something that does not really work for them. These special designers are called UX designers, User Experience designers, creating accessible designs. An example would be designing a jacket for a disabled person who can use their fingers, by not having zips or tricky button fastenings. The idea now is there is no such thing as a disabled person, it is the items that have not been designed to be accessible and are creating the disability. This type of design means items need to be able to be customised, personalised and wearable, fashion technology creates lots of opportunities for this, below are some of my top examples. User Experience designers are everywhere in digital, designing web-sites, phones, fashion is still very much behind. In the future UX Fashion Designers may become normal, no longer will styles be dictated by catwalk trends but by what the needs of the customers are.
Accessible Fashion Design
Wearable technology offers masses of potential to improve the lives of people with impairments such as The Dot Watch, a braille watch for the visually impaired. Open Style Lab is an organisation on a mission to do just this with innovative clothing developed personal to each persons disability. Projects include speakers built into clothing to help people with speech problems, other ideas are using conductive fibres so wearers can control their wheel chairs by touching their pocket. Finally Blue Badge Style are dedicated to highlighting accessible venues and products that are also stylish and fashionable.
Real Life Problems Technology Could Solve
- Shopping – Payments, re-ordering, delivery (3D printing), styling, customising, sizing, advertising.
- Travel – Booking hotels/taxis, photographs, interacting with hotel room, less luggage, self-identification, not forget.
- Health – Monitor diet, heart, support, safety lights sports, pregnancy.
- Beauty/ Lifestyle – Skin scanners, UV rays detectors.
- Education – Virtual visits,
- Children/elderly – Monitor location.
- Friends/ family – Contact, security alarm
- Home – Security, heating, cooking, entertainment.
- Work – Virtual meetings, health & safety, work station, weather.
- Leisure – Music, films.
I believe wearable technology will work best as a means to connect with your devices and static technology, as appose to being a stand-alone piece of technology. To allow us to functional within the world around us in the most unobtrusive, seamless way.
The most scope for development in wearables I feel are in the following areas:
- Technology attached to clothing or the body, improving on the aesthetics of existing designs.
- Fabrics with conductive yarns, to heat, monitor the body, send signals to you phone.
- Linking technology, that interacts with your phone or could be buildings.
Changes in the environment could activate features in wearable technology, what would they be:
- Light changes – Dark, light.
- Noise – Music, voices.
- Movement – Tiling, touch, GPS, vibrations.
- Temperature – Atmosphere, body.
- Weather – Wet/ dry.
- Chemicals – Smoke.
- Waves – Brain, heart, radio, internet.
These changes could then activate a feature that does the same as above, create light, noise and movement.
To learn more about “Fashion Futures & Wearable Technology” check out the rest of my blog.