Following this talk, the crowd was abuzz with talk of cyborgs and digital skin. Throughout London Fashion Week there were a series of talks discussing all things digital and how they relate to fashion.
The panel included Francesca Rosella, director of CuteCircuit; Lauren Bowker, founder of The Unseen; Nancy Tilbury co-founder & director of Studio XO and Neil Harbisson, cyborg artist.
In the shiny tent at Somerset House, the panel sat on the clean white runway and answered questions from both the host and the audience. Francesca was first to state that ‘people have always used their clothes as a means of communication,’ she also explained how this was simply enhanced by technology.
The director of Cute Circuit went on to tell the audience about developments that her company had been making with ideas such as a garment that you can download patterns for and they will appear on the material. She also told of future accessories that could be switched off if the wearer does not want them to be seen anymore.
Lauren, founder of The Unseen, talked about how technology makes fashion less about making something looks nice but ‘making it do something.’ She said, ‘lots of brands want to use technology but don’t know how to use it.’ A running theme throughout the discussion was the idea of panic, meaning that brands are scared that they are missing out on something. Lauren said, ‘we almost need to stop talking about it and just get on with it. Fashion people love to panic.’
Neil Harbisson, the ‘human cyborg,’ was the most interesting panelist by appearance. Not only was he dressed only in primary colours, but he had a metal antennae sticking out of his skull. Neil explained the he was colour blind but had wanted to see colour since he was ten years old. He developed an antennae that allowed him to hear colour through wavelength frequencies sent through bone vibrations in his skull. Most of the audience’s jaws dropped at this explanation, including mine. He said, ‘I wanted something that was a body part, not something wearable.’
Nancy, co-founder and director of Studio X, who made a dress for Richard Nicoll, made the shocking statement ‘I believe in the next ten years we will have digital skin.’ Cher responded that the industry needs to think about what will happen in terms of durable, wearable clothes and not only technology.
This talk certainly sparked an interest in ‘wearable tech’ for many members of the audience. It seems that fashion may be much more than just a season ahead.