Where Fashion Meets Technology Congress

The 1st Wearable Technologies congress “Where fashion meets technology” is happening July 9 in Munich. I’m a big fan of smart textiles, as it was the subject of my master’s thesis. I studied consumer demand for smart textiles in apparel, looking at what products have high demand and to which demographic. Here is a link to my research.

One major thing I found was that consumers just aren’t as interested in the complex, aesthetically challenged, wire-filled prototypes MIT keeps dreaming up, but instead want things that help them do less laundry, wear less bulky or slimy protective gear and creams (SPF etc), and overall makes their lives simpler. Yeah, yeah, I understand wearable electronics are all the rage in the development arena, but there’s something to the fact people are perfectly willing to put their IPOD in their pocket, and would rather have the focus be on thermal comfort and medication that self-administers. (Although, those Nike running shoes with the advanced options via your IPOD seem to have struck a chord with consumers).

While I no longer actively study this firsthand, I am on my university’s committee to create a product design degree, and it’s fascinating to discuss what we need to teach and who is qualified to teach it because it comes down to what do students need to learn based on what products do people really need and want. Something so basic is also vastly complicated and there are no right answers. So, I’m pleased to let you know about a fashion/tech congress, even if I sometimes think the exact direction research goes can be misguided, because in general I’m a huge fan of the merging of available technology and design.

The smart textiles blog I used to read doesn’t seem to be around anymore so if you know of a good one please post it in comments.

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