fashion: November 2003 Archives

Strangely familiar

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The Carnegie Museum of Art is currently hosting an exhibit called Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life. From the exhibit brochure: "Design is a paradoxical presence in our lives, both invisible and conspicuous, familiar and strange. It surrounds us but fades from view, becomes second nature yet remains seemingly unknowable. Broadly conceived as the world of human-made artifacts, design is literally everywhere. Despite this ubiquity, we seldom experience objects, messages, and spaces to provoke deeper questions about how we choose to live..."

The projects in Strangely Familiar rethink the traditional role of design in everyday life. A few are particularly relevant to the topics of fashion and technology.

The Transformables line of clothing from C.P. Company consists of protective rain garments that transform into items such as a tent, kite, or inflatable armchair. (To view the line, click through their homepage to the archive.)

From the Fortune Cookies design group comes Felt 12x12, small gray felt squares that consumers can combine in ways that suit their own needs or styles. The group believes that "a designer's role in society is to create a framework, within which consumers can define shape and form for themselves." Watch their movie and see creations that range from aprons and hats to hot dog holders.

The Placebo Project is an investigation into people's attitudes towards electromagnetic fields. The Nipple Chair has two protrusions in the back that vibrate when the chair is in an electromagnetic field. The 25 compasses set into the top of the Compass Table spin when a cell phone is placed on it. The Electro-draught Excluder, though it looks like it might protect you from electromagnetic fields, actually does nothing but induce strange behavior as you try to hide behind it.

If you're not able to experience this fantastic exhibit in person, buy the book.

Burton strikes again

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At Mac World in January, Apple and Burton Snowboards unveiled the now infamous Burton Amp Jacket, an electronic jacket with integrated iPod controls. Less than a year later, they've released four additional products: a backpack, a women's jacket, and two additional men's jackets.

All of the products contain SOFTswitch technology, which enables electronic components to be built into soft, flexible textiles. The backpack's controls are built into the shoulder strap, while the three jackets wear their controls on their sleeves.

I hate to be critical because I think these are really exciting products, but I can't help saying that I just don't like the style of the jackets. The men's jackets are ok (and I admit they bear a resemblance to my own less-than-stylish sporty black winter coat), but the women's jacket is really awful. Granted, I'm not a snowboarder, and I'm sure the jackets will sell out regardless, but I still think there's an opportunity for these products to expand outside their original target audience.

- Thanks to Abe for the link to Cool Hunting

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the fashion category from November 2003.

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fashion: January 2004 is the next archive.

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