Theorizing Fashiontech as an Emerging Design Practice

Anne Galperin
Associate Professor
Graphic Design
SUNY New Paltz

Like so many other endeavors contemporary designers find themselves involved in, fashiontech (a marriage of conventional apparel and electronic/digital technology for fun and/or function) unites a variety of professionals in collaboration. Experience and interaction designers, industrial and fashion designers, engineers, programmers and users all have a role to play in the conceptualization and creation of fabrics, garments, hardware, and programming.

Hybrid practices such as this one require new theoretical frameworks in order to describe, understand and innovate in emerging fields.

As an initial step toward the creation of a such a framework for fashiontech, selected concepts originating in areas as diverse as tangible computing, fashion, semiotics, sociology, women’s studies, craft and maker culture will be described, compared and contrasted. (This will not exclude issues of concern in the apparel, technology and design industries including unsustainable or ethically compromised resource production, labor, and manufacturing, and the planned obsolescence typical of both fashion and technology.)

This synthetic construction is intended to be useful to students, educators and makers in fashiontech-related fields as they envision, create and theorize about such garments. As a demonstration the framework will be used to analyze and position pivotal fashiontech garments, one possible example being the Cute Circuit-designed dress Katy Perry wore to the 2010 Met Costume Institute Gala.

The Design and Branding of a Project

Anita Giraldo
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Steel Ice & Stone is an interactive installation consisting of nine 3 x 4” backlit photographic images, each equipped with a dedicated sensor-driven sound unit which play back nine sound compositions. It was first exhibited in December 2013 at ArtWorks Trenton, followed by its Brooklyn exhibition at the Gowanus Ballroom in June 2014.

The work employed various forms of social media for its promotion and funding, most notably a successful Kickstarter. Attaining this form of funding was a complex task requiring agile strategies across a system of social media outlets, all designed to further the brand of the work.

The ultimate goal was to build the most appropriate target audience—a fan base—who would identify so strongly with the project that they would fund it, attend its exhibitions and buy an artwork from the installation.