An interview with Lilli Hollein - curator and co-founder of the Vienna Design Week
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Fashion and technology to re-establish contact between people
Out of Henk-Jan Room’s idea, an interactive jacket to find new points of contact between the real world and that of technology
A technological jacket that interacts with an app to create contacts in the real world
Ever more often, fashion and technology end up coming together to question the most topical subjects: you too must have run into a group of friends in which everyone’s attention is monopolised by their own mobile phone, each one busy connecting to social media. So the question arises: do we still have a point of contact with each other? Or are we too busy tweeting, sharing photos on Instagram, or sending clips on Snapchat?
To find a remedy to this unpleasant feeling of estrangement, the Dutch concept designer Henk-Jan Room created an interactive jacket to explore new opportunities of contact between the real world and that of technology: “We often have loads of connections in the social media, but sometimes we miss the depth of the real-world contact. It often remains superficial, exactly because it lacks a large portion of communication. Social media convey the written word, but they don’t convey the tone of the voice and the other distinctive features of unmediated communication”.
Out of this reflection was born a collection of technological outfits conceived with the idea in mind to link the benefits of social media with those of the real world through an interactive jacket, which, by linking up with a mobile phone App can select one’s preferences: the jacket will change colour and thus communicate to others your common interests. Another much more business-oriented use of the jacket can be made during a work event. The App is installed to aid in the research of a particular professional profile, and when the two jackets come into contact, thanks to their colour, one will be able to infer whether the person encountered might be a good fit for the position. An additional idea could be to link up the jacket to your heartbeat to improve your athletic performance or to the beat of music to light up and liven a party.
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