Welcome to Fashioning Circuits, a public Humanities project related to Fashion and Emerging Media.
Photo “electronic led light dress at the museum of science and industry in chicago” by Flickr user David Hilowitz
Fashioning Circuits was launched in September 2011 as part of a series of independent studies in the graduate program in Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC) at the University of Texas, Dallas. The goal of the project is twofold: to explore the ways in which fashion and emerging media intersect and to work with community partners to introduce beginners to making and coding through wearable media. In Fashioning Circuits “fashion” functions not just as a noun to describe cultural trends, but also as a verb, “to fashion,” to indicate the experiential and problem based learning strategies of the project as well as the potential for a diverse range of students to fashion themselves as members of the publics and counterpublics of the future.
This blog is one of the ways in which the work of the project is articulated. The blog content includes
Coursework – resources from university courses, both independent study and formal classes.
Emerging Media – examples and analysis of blogs, social media, mobile applications, etc. as they pertain to fashion.
High Fashion – information and analysis of haute couture and runway iterations of wearable media.
History – historical impact of science, technology, and media on fashion.
Identity – analysis of the impact of fashion and emerging media on identity, including raced, classed, gendered, differently abled and sexualized bodies.
Project News – information about Fashioning Circuits activities and press coverage of the project
Representations – representations of fashion in media, including art, media, games, social avatars, etc.
Wearables – analysis of developments in wearable media, smart textiles, etc.
Workshop – descriptions of wearable media projects and detailed tutorials.
Aside from the blog archive, the editorial team is also active on Twitter. Search for the hashtag #fashioningcircuits to see all of the interesting resources we are finding and sharing.
If you would like to work with us on planning a community event, please contact email@example.com If you would like to volunteer your time at one of our community events, please join our Facebook planning group at http://facebook.com/groups/fashioningcircuits
Festivals. Music Festivals. Art Festivals. Movie Festivals. Technology Festivals. People of all ages and socioeconomic statuses find themselves flocking to festivals across the world which cater to their particular variety of fun. Each festival offers a unique experience defined by a diverse and highly passionate cult-like following. The atmosphere is full of energy, as ranges of people descend upon a single area to come together and celebrate a passion for a fixed period of time. In theory, it sounds electrifying. People from all over the world coming together to rally around a common interest and cause – but with so many individuals converging into a single area security and communication become a very real concern for both the administrators and attendees of the event.
However, in this day and age, a new trend in the festival experience has emerged – Smartbracelets. A wearable, functional bracelet that allows attendees and event coordinators to access the festival and seamlessly communicate in both emergency and social environments. Bracelets are sent to registrants in lieu of traditional tickets and can be read at access points to allow entry into VIP areas, Campgrounds, speciality programs, etc… without the bother of physical passes that can be easily lost of damaged. Bracelets also increasingly serve as a method of payment, as festival goers load cash onto their individual festival “account” and can purchase and participate within the event without having to worry about carrying physical currencies.
An upcoming festival in Belgium, Tomorrowland, is taking festival technology to an extreme – pushing past the merely functional needs of attendees and integrating social elements of the event environment into the bracelet itself. The bracelet, like many others will still serve as an electronic ticket granting entry into the festival. However, once inside the festival it becomes a part of the social experience itself. Users are able to link their facebook account and contact information with their festival account, and when you’ve made a new acquaintance at the event – you simply put the bracelets side by side, select the “heart” icon, and your information is transferred to the other attendee. This allows people to connect past the moment, and potentially arrange meet-ups throughout other days and times at the event – or to build long term friendships without the hassle of a more traditional information exchange. The bracelets pass information using RFID technology and can transmit the data to/from the nearest bracelet.
Additionally, brands have begun getting into the wearable technology trends – giving out bracelets that are branded and track activity to reward certain behaviors. At the 2014 SXSW festival, wearable wristbands measured realtime audience interaction and rewarded people who were dancing at a Pepsi sponsored event. They used realtime information from the lightwave technology to adjust sound levels, lighting and temperature on the fly to manipulate the user’s real-time experience. Another brand quickly getting into the smart bracelet trend is Spotify, which enabled attendees at Tomorrowland to record a soundbite of their favorite songs – and automatically import them into their Spotify playlists to bookmark for future listening or share with friends. As mentioned in Critical Thinking’s Manifesto, Theses on Making in the Digital Age, the makers of this wearable technology are allowing a very futuristic vision of interaction to come to life. Those employing this technology are ‘bending reality’ to the use of which ‘they will’ to be true.
The options for wearable technology converging with live events seem to be endless, but it also begs many a question around privacy and the dangers of real-time bulk data collection. With so many various brands plugging into an API that is quite literally feeding your every action to event coordinators, sponsors and 3rd parties the potential for abuse becomes much more realistic and threatening.
Navigate Urban Way-finding Jacket:
A Sense of Style and Direction
By: Kassiopia Jackson
The Navigate Jacket with the Companion App. Via WearableExperiments.com
What comes to mind when you think about wearable technology? The Samsung watch? Google glass? If you can’t think of much of anything else, don’t worry. It isn’t from a lack of trying, but from a lack of exposure. I bet if you were to go out on the street and ask someone about wearable technology, they would probably bring up the same two things. Wearable Experiments is on a mission to change how we perceive wearable technology.
Earlier this year, Wearable Experiments created the NAVIGATE jacket. The NAVIGATE jacket is a fashion staple which doubles as a map so the wearer can navigate their physical environment. According to Billie Whitehouse, co-founder of Wearable Experiments, the NAVIGATE jacket removes the navigation from the hands of the user and gives the wearer their eyes back.
The way the NAVIGATE jacket works is simple. Prior to wearing the jacket out, you would have to download the companion app. On this app you would have several destinations saved. From your list of hot spots around town, you would select one destination and the app would download the destination information to the NAVIGATE jacket. Now we get to the good part.
What could wearable technology do for teachers? As a former six year middle/ high school teacher and coach I can recall times where I was put in a place of fear from false and frivolous accusations from a student with nothing but my character and integrity to defend me. Through the struggle of vindication I thought that teachers should have a high tech defense mechanism to prevent malicious future events. A taboo issue that pops ups sporadically in nightly news, yet always shocking, are the inappropriate relationships between teachers and students. Not only would a wearable possibly diffuse situations of ‘my word against yours,’ but it would serve as an accountability resource when unknown offenders implant themselves within a school environment. I could only imagine the innocence that could be spared on account of social facilitation being monitored by a wearable.
In my own experience as a teacher, innovative technology was an expertise of mine. I would dream up something between google glass and Robocop. Not only for security and accountability, but I would think of review clips, resources for absent students, and even next year planning sessions all filed in video format. With products like Epiphany Eyewear and Memoto, technology is closer today rather than when I was watching
“Back in my day…”
the Jetson’s in the 80s. However close we may be in the wearable world we still lack the progressive progress within the realm of privacy implications and policy. What could wearable technology do to the education system if all participants felt watched all the time? Would a Panoptic situation ensue? Who would have authority over the data? Would it really be a solution at the cost of the negatives in feeling watched all the time?
Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Hartford, as well as Fort Worth, Tex.; Chesapeake, Va.; and Modesto, Calif. would be a great point of reference to start. They have begun issuing wearable video cameras as a part of the standard uniform for police. These serve the same purposes that I found lacking resources in my teaching career. Each department have set up policies for when the camera should be activated and who has access to the video. Overall, wearable technology has a huge contributions for individuals who work with the general population, especially teachers who sometimes are in the trenches against students, parents, and even administrators. Had I been wearing a form of wearable technology I could have been spared the embarrassment of all of my students writing a written statement of me breaking up a racially charged fight ‘rugby style’ with the ‘two boys under each arm’ escorting them to the office. In my wearable dreams I would have turned to the distraction, activated the video and said “smile your on camera.”
I had a fit over a ONESIE that I skimmed over at the Internet of Things and had to check that it was not my biological clock! Confirming with my husband, I have validated that
Mimo Baby Monitor
this is just COOL! The Huffington Post, Today, CNBC, and SF Chronicle all agree that Mimo baby sleep monitor is what parents deserve to achieve “Relief from heavy, anxious feeling. Clear and accurate information. Waking refreshed and energized.” Not having any children myself, I had to look at the real problem that this wearable technology solves in research. SIDS and SUID are not just acronyms that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elaborate on their website. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome represents that accidents happen, families grieve and suffer the ultimate loss of infant life less than a year old.
Mimo seeks to monitor the “rest and well-being of their infant…by using multi-layer deposition of electrical conductors to produce durable sensors built into infant clothing. Parents can get data on activity levels, body position and breathing” available for IOS and Android.
Life saving information at the tips of parent’s fingers
The pitch is for the “mommy brain” and including in rapid fire at the end of the front page video “daddy brain, baby-sitter brain, going back to work brain, generally any other type of care taker brain.” However, I think the technology could benefit the other end of the age spectrum too. “40 million adults age 65 and over will be living alone in the U.S, Canada and Europe.” The Mimo does not require a Life Alert emergency response of falling and unable to get up. With Mimo’s respiration, temperature, movement and body position sensors it seems that the baby market is a frontier to expand into other age categories too. This could be my inner desire to purchase one for my own elderly family member, but not ready for the full Mimo Baby Monitor Starter kit purchase for myself.
Going to a political rally and have nothing to wear? You might answer this with a “no,” but that doesn’t mean that #VNM clothing line isn’t for you.
More increasingly governments globally are blatantly displaying their power and control over the internet especially in a time of declared “emergency.” January 28, 2011 “the Egyptian government shut down the Internet and short message service (SMS)” as well as sent personal text messages via SMS straight from the Mubarak government (Aday p 7 & 16). After protests from political prisoner’s families, April 25, 2014 the Iranian government sent SMS messages to intimidate them to not participate in protest gatherings. The messages are said to say “by law, participation in any gathering without prior authorization is a crime and the violator will be punished.” Ukraine protesters were subject to the same type of government flex when they received the text message “dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass riot.” These are just few examples of governments utilizing digital metadata against the sovereignty of people. Even in countries without rights, it is still the people’s voice that cries out for decisions for change. “Those countries are worlds away and this could never happen in America,” you say. “We have rights,” you say. “My government has never text me,” you say.
Think about in times of emergency about your phone. How do they have your number for Amber Alerts, weather warnings, etc.?
Exposed facts of our own government’s hand in metadata and surveillance carried out by the NSA confirms that our rights are indeed being infringed, our voices are not being heard, but our metadata is loud, clear and unprotected.
#VNM Voices Not Metadata is a political line of wearable media.
The social and political issue that I intentionally desired to make a statement about has already effected you and I, accountability ignorance. Who represents you? Who is making decisions about your life? When you do feel infringed enough upon to gather, how are you informed of individuals serving committees and voting on laws and policies representing your voice? During the first stages of creative design I envisioned a QR code so that people could interact with the wearer by getting informed on the point of any gathering issue and the specific representative’s public information. Even though you could argue that a QR code could be categorized as “wearable media” I wanted to get more electrifying, literally.
Inspired by an internet finding called “kill phone fabric” I was compelled to make a statement about governments and the use of metadata while ignoring the actual voices of the people. #VNM is a campaign to eventually play out in another step of the brand while adding the QR codes and kill phone fabric pockets in latter steps too. I wanted to design something that I knew I would wear to a rally or assembly. The electric run (in all it’s magicalness) was the first reason I signed up for the course. However, being able to spin my passion of political issues into the project was a joy! I wanted to make a statement, yet keep the fun and awe into the piece. My target audience, but not limited to, are 80s babies and younger voting demographic because ignorance is a plague among our generations.
For the purposes of my #FashioningCircuts final project I morphed an AWESOME project called LED Ampli-Tie by none other than the infamous Wearable Wednesday’s Becky Stern, to whom I owe much appreciation! Adafruit had great ideas for me to frame what I could actually do with great support through the process. The site included all the resources that I needed to successfully create my own Ampli-sleeve. This sleeve serves the purpose of representing the voices and sounds of the people and not of the metadata that is being abused by those entrusted to serve & protect for the general public good.
I choose to work with a jacket from watching documentaries and thinking about what I would wear if I were at an assembly that was outside. I also considered the future weight implications of the phone when utilizing the kill phone fabric. Among all the amazing projects I researched the Ampli-tie overview YouTube video seemed like the best resource to represent the peoples voice through a microphone, programmed Flora main board and 16 Flora Neopixels.
– I applied all the lessons I learned when completing that project.
Inside the sleeve
Explore blogs, YouTube channels, and other resources to get an idea for what you can dream up on your own.
-I was overwhelmed at first going through the workshops because I didn’t grasp coding and what I could create with it. I really appreciated pre-coded projects (and open source) because they allowed me to dream bigger. Again, thank you Becky Stern for all your creations!
Scale it down on proposals.
-I had planned on implementing the kill phone fabric pockets to make the next step statement of your phone no longer acting as surveillance, a tool of intimidation and a source of metadata that governments are exploiting. However, I have not sewn since I was 10 or 11 years old, this is my first time working with wearable media and I’ve never encountered code the way I was immersed in this class. With all this in mind (perhaps you might have similarities too) scale it down a bit.
When looking on a pre-ordered supply list, make sure that ALL components are included.
-I had to up the number of NeoPixels and add the conductive thread ribbon into my cart.
When the going gets tough, the tough call their husband (insert significant person in your life and use their perspective) to help trouble shoot!
updated Flora NeoPixels have ultra-cool technology
-Funny thing. Of course there is a negative and a positive to work with on the RGB smart pixels I ordered. However, I didn’t realize the extreme importance of the arrow on the front too. I was trying to trouble shoot the issue of not having overlapping conductive thread lines therefore I adjusted the led as needed. After two removals of the Flora main board and several strand light tests I realized that the issue was not the connection. I knew I had to start from scratch. It wasn’t until starting from scratch that we realized value of the arrows. They need to go up. I learned the hard way and had to disassemble the whole sleeve and switch to the other side because when you cut conductive thread its left behind microfibers could be the cause of a future short circuit. Before I reassembled I ironed on interface to provide a more stable base for the circuit to be sewn into. Lastly, test, test and test as you go no matter how excited you are to sew!
Glue and sewing will provide more stability
-I found that not sewing down the board left the connections able to wiggle and fray the conductive thread knots. On the final sleeve I sewed it down using regular thread in holes that I was not using in my circuit. It stabilized the shorts I was able to see in the flickering of the NeoPixels.
Multimeter is pronounced [muhl-tim-i-ter]
This was a tool that I could not have done my project without (shout out to my dad!). With this tool I was able to remain confident in my sewing because it measures the electric circuit as voltage, resistance, and current.
Overall, I am ecstatic with my execution on the first step in the first phase of my imagined #VNM line. It represents a stand for voices to be heard for sovereignty rather than the information about the information about the people to steer political decisions.
Not serious. Not yet!
Aday, Sean , Henry Farrell, Marc Lynch, John Sides, and Deen Freelon. “NEW MEDIA AND CONFLICT AFTER THE ARAB SPRING.” United States Institute of Peace, 1 July 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/PW80.pdf>.
In my first proposal, I was so sure that my project was going to start some type of movement. I was overly ambitious and I could truly say that this project has humbled me with the understanding that Rome was not built in a day.
With my project, I hope to bring more awareness to emotional abuse. One of the challenges of identifying emotional abuse is that there is no physical evidence. When I first started planning my project, my focus was on how to empower the victim of emotional abuse. I thought that having something that can identify emotional abuse would be helpful to the victim.
My first thought was to create a cuff that would light LEDs in response to certain words that an emotional abuser would normally use to abuse the victim. That would have included coding that was beyond my understanding, so I had to simplify. This did began a path on deciding on what would be my sensor. I had worked before with LEDs in a previous project so I felt comfortable with using them as my actuators. Now, I must inform you that I had never use coding or didn’t even have clue what an audruino lily pad was before I took this class. So of course my anxiety level was at the max. I did however felt a little confident in making the product because I have sewing experience. But it only took me so far.
I know I wanted to play with audio because emotional abuse is verbal so I had to figure out how I was going to get information from a sensor to the LEDs. That’s when the USB lily pad came into effect. We had already played with it in class so I felt a little at ease, and it was on less thing to order. So the supply list was due, and for some reason I thought the LEDs that came with our kit was suffice. By this time I still did not decide on what would be my sensor. I found an audruino recorder online but I still did not know what route I wanted to take this project. After a discussion with professor Knight, I committed to a theme for my project. Within this discussion, I also was able to identify my sensor. Fortunately, a student from a previous class allowed me to see what she had used for a similar project that involved audio. We used a recorder that also measure sound levels and with this I was then able to output through the Lily pad to the LEDs. Perfect right?
I decided to use my project for media art. I was going to construct a mask that would light up to a video of an abuser verbally abusing a victim. I wanted to show a visual effect in spite of the lack of evidence to promote awareness. Now a mask would involve contours of the face so the conductive thread seem ideal for one of my tools in putting all of this together. While my recorder was being shipped to me, I was brainstorming on how to design the pattern of the LEDs that will be sewn on the mask. I only knew about serial patterns due to a previous project. I’ll tell you later about this challenge. The recorder came in the mail and I was so excited to start playing with it. Now how will this be possible without sewing everything on the final product, the handy dandy gator clips. They saved my life. I was able to connect everything and practice coding without making a permanent mistake.
Okay next challenge, the recorder was too small to keep the gators on so it was causing a short. This resulted in a crash course in soldering. I learned to solder jumpers to my recorder and then I was able to connect to the lily pad and LEDs by using connecting wires which come into play later in another challenge. Okay so I’m back in business.
Coding. What can I say about this subject? Please read everything that professor Knight suggests. I had to crammed pages and pages of literature while I was coding. I mean that’s how I learn ( hands on) but it would had been helpful to have read everything while we had our workshops. I can’t stressed that enough especially if you are new to any of this. I learned my lesson. Fortunately, after reading everything, I was able to figure out that the code that came with the recorder was something I can build on. One thing I encountered was that I would have my GND, VVC, and SPL not connected to the right output, so if you see that something is not working(flashing) correctly double check the wiring. Once this was pointed out I was able to connect. Another problem I encountered was that my board was not selected correctly in audruino so if there is something funny showing up in your serial monitor double check the bottom of the audruino sketch pad. This was also pointed out to me by the same student assistant. God Bless him.
With the help of his guidance, I was able to get the coding in a day, but then something else happened. Remember I pointed out that I only knew about serial patterns, well I learned about parallel first hand. My LEDs’ charge was not strong enough to carry through in serial so I had to go parallel. So how was this going to be a possible pattern and on a mask? I made a decision to only make my neck band that was going to housed all the equipment my only tech functional piece. Now it’s time to construct.
I learned to strip my wires because I used jumper wires to connect my recorder to my lily pad. This is where the wires come in. There was no way I would be able to connect all my LEDs to one GND. I resorted to radio shack again and invested in a stripper and a LED strip. The best investment was the stripper. My whole aesthetic change to accommodate the design. I decided to “wear the Guts out”. I incorporated the equipment to the design. My wiring draped like chiffon! I used tacking to keep the wires in place. The end results was awesome. I was able to connect at least three LEDs to my GND by using the wires I stripped. Since I decided to use the equipment as part of the design I was able to keep everything in range and the neck band wearable. I kept my design somewhat the same and I now like the new aesthetic. My coding works and its wearable and I can return the $30 LED strip to Radio Shack.
This was a challenging journey. This experience was awakening and I have a new profound respect for e-textiles. I learned a lot through trial and error and my product is functional. I hope that it does do what I intended it to do, overall the journey was worth it. Hopefully this will help with giving a visual effect to emotional abuse.
Stop Telling Women to Smile is the public art project addressing gender based street harassment by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
When saying, “I’m not interested,” is no longer a clear enough signal to leave someone alone.
In our modern society, it is increasingly difficult for many people to communicate in a direct manner without experiencing apprehension or anxiety. These people may not feel comfortable with social interaction, which may cause them issues with being direct or upfront towards others. This awkwardness can sometimes lead to uncomfortable, threatening, or even violent situations. For many people, technology can function as a “screen” that allows them to opt out of real-life, face-to-face interactions. When communicating online, users can set statuses on instant messaging systems (“Do Not Disturb”, “Available”, “Away”) to indicate their availability or willingness to chat. But what happens to them when they do not have a screen to hide behind and they need help communicating their status to others? If there was an easy passive way for people to clearly communicate their receptiveness to outside interaction, it could potentially prevent miscommunication, confrontational situations, and unwanted advances. Enter the Instant Status Band.Continue reading »
I have always have a fascination with the “space world”. Being a fashion student, I could only dream to be so avant garde like Jean Paul Gautier in his creations for the Fifth element. While working with LEDs this semester, I thought to myself wouldn’t it be cool to have tiny LEDs at the tip of your eyelashes. It would be something you will see in a Sci-Fi movie. So I goggled to see if such a product exist. I came across Soomi Park’s video. Here, Park uses LED’s to emphasize on the size of the eye. What was so cool about the technology part of the lashes is that they came with sensors. You can turn the lashes on and off by tilting your head. The video itself is kind of “spacey”. I didn’t even know that this existed. I think the whole concept is cool but they are a little too bulky for me. They also come with added materials that are attached to your ear which maybe the sensors. I could see this taking off for a while especially within the Music Video world.
I came across another LED eyelash project pojken. This project was use for costuming. Here the artist uses smaller LEDs. (SMDs). These were made to wear on the top of the eyelid. She also used soldering to help keep them together. This started a journey for me to see if what I wanted existed. I found a whole eyelash design world. There are many different designs to artistically express yourself. I discovered that there are UV eyelashes in market now.
I would like to design or help to find LEDs small enough to put at the tip of eyelashes to where they would appear to be little drops of color liquid at the end of the eyelash. Technically I don’t think a LED exist that can be so small and then would the LEDs be on all the time. Is there a light sensor small enough to communicate to the LEDs when to shut down and when to come on? It would bring your eyes to a whole other level, when it comes to make-up and flirting, don’t you think?
As I was searching for information about 3d printing I ran across this : The Mink printer
Ladies..we don’t have to run to the store to get make up. We will now be able to make your own make up straight from your printer. A Harvard student by the name of Ms. Choi, has develop a printer that will print out any shade of color. Color that is wearable due to 3d printing. Her argument is that manufactures are selling a lot “bullshit”. She believes that women should be able to establish what beauty is to themselves and the mink printer will help expand this idea. According to Choi, mass manufactures only sell make up that are high volume which limits the selection for women. If a women would want a niche make up brand then you have to go to a high priced vendor such as Sephora which also limits the choices for women. This also drives the prices of niche colors up to where it would be considered prestige to even buy that particular make up. Her target audience are girls ranging from ages 13-21 because she wants to develop a new culture for buying make up. She believes that this age group is way beyond ready to print their own make-up. It would be just be in their nature to click and print.
The hardware itself is just the same as a regular inkjet printer. You would not have to buy any special software to make the make- up. You would have to buy the program which is gracemink.com. You actually will be able to pick a picture, take the color hex code from a color picker and print from any software You have to buy ink which is FDA approved. In the demo she literally pulled an eye shadow from a printer. She is basically selling the idea of providing your own pigment to our own raw materials to make your own make-up.
The concept appears to be doable but it brings a lot of questions to mind. For example, the raw materials, where will a thirteen year old girl get these materials? The ink in the printer is assumed to be FDA approved but with added functional attributes will the make -up cause allergies or skin conditions?
I think if it is not marketed correctly, it can be just another “easy bake oven” put on the side that doesn’t decompose. I don’t know what approach to use that would make this product become a household name that everyone would use every day. I do agree with Ms. Choi that manufacturers and niche markets do try to possess the control of the make- up market. It would be a way to empower our young and older women but it would it just be just another revolutionary fad? We experienced the same thing with Green became the new black. It would be kind of difficult to convince a single mom that has to rely on Wally world’s sale on Cover girl and Revlon, to invest in a three hundred dollar machine in which you will still have to buy additional supplies to make your own make up.
Convenience is another reason that may be positive or a negative. Making your own make-up at home seems to be ideal but what if you don’t have the additional supplies and the time how would that work. I do have to say I was impress when I saw the demo, she made eye shadow in less than six minutes. But really who has the time to print anything now, isn’t that why we now have e-coupons now.
I love the fact that Ms. Choi wants to disrupt the whole make-up world. Any idea that brings about change does deserve a moment of consideration. I don’t wear make-up on a daily basis but I have spent a few more dollars on products that Ms. Choi would consider prestige. Well, it’s because it makes me feel pretty… maybe Ms. Choi’s Mink printer will change how we see beauty.