Focus on the Future journals

ITAAs journal, Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, has out two special issues entitled Focus on the Future parts I & II. All of the articles have to do with dress, retailing, and related education, and feature topics such as virtual reality, online consumption, and smart textile design.

Since my master’s thesis was about consumer demand for smart textiles, I’m now catching up the high-tech side of fashion as I’m studying for my comprehensive written exams which will cover material dating back to my masters. So yes, even though I’m on vacation, I’m reading journals, and I read one article in the Focus on the Future issues which grabbed me.

It is entitled Extensible Dress: The Future of Digital Clothing by Noel Palomo-Lovinski from Kent State University. The article initially is about potential future innovations in clothing design, including apparel that is basically like a green screen and can project onto itself whatever suits the wearer (no pun intended although I left it in for kicks). It goes on to discuss the versatility of such clothing for individuality, time efficiency, and practicality in being able to basically morph into whatever look you want with speed and grace. The part of the article that grabbed me though was that it moves into a discussion of postmodernism and social psychology in addressing how said individuality and instant changeability would affect group identity, identify development in general, and the interpretations that are produced and used in social interactions.

I used to give talks about my masters work on people’s relationship to smart textiles and wearable technology, and I often closed the talks trying to get the students to think about where this all might go in terms of interpersonal communication. You’re less connected to those around you when you’re listening to headphones and your eyes are glued to your phone on which you’re texting someone. However, you’re more connected to a larger sphere of people as the album you listen to you downloaded from a stranger in another country and you’re texting you’re sibling or friend who is away for the summer.

Anyway, while I personally didn’t love all of the design ideas that Extensible Dress presented, I thought it was great to see an article which addressed the humane side of high-tech design, which is a vastly under-researched and discussed area.

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