Dec 072014

Figure 1: The Surveillance Recognition gym shirt

It is acknowledgeable that throughout human history, people have always recognized and maintained a sense of privacy. Nestled betwixt a plethora of issues facing this realization is the idea that there does not exist a single and precise definition of what exactly privacy constitutes. Dated research (circa 1881) presented an oversimplified yet often quoted idea that privacy was the “right to be let alone” (Craven Jr, 1979). It wasn’t until a few years later that the idea that privacy deserved legal protection began to circulate, spawning mass intellectual debates on the issue. Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis produced a highly influential essay in Harvard Law Review in 1890 that introduced the fundamental principle that “the individual shall have full protection in person and in property… it is our purpose to consider whether the existing law affords a principle which can properly be invoked to protect the privacy of the individual; and, if it does, what the nature and extent of such protection is” (p. 37). In American society, as well as other western cultures, one of the most clear cut and expected notions of privacy involves the ability to control exposure of one’s body (Konvitz, 1966). The author discusses how culturally we are made to believe that being naked is something to be seen as shameful (as passages from the bible give way to this), and we have a right to not be exposed without or consent. While this project doesn’t focus on the distribution of anything pertaining to a violation of someone’s right to maintain privacy of their naked body, it does touch on having a right to not be publicly displayed to others, whether it be in concern to their body, clothing, etc., within certain public or private spheres without their consent. In discussing video voyeurism, Lance Rothenberg said, “The failure of criminal law to recognize a legitimate expectation of privacy in the public space tacitly grants the video voyeur a license to act with impunity, and leaves victims with little or no recourse” (2011, p. 1146). Voyeurism in this case is the action of spying on persons engaged in intimate behavior, such as undressing or other sexual activity considered to be private nature.

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Dec 192013

Figure 1. Judging Value with Electroluminescent Wire

Throughout my first semester as an EMAC major, the topic of “value judgments” has somehow managed to come up in discussion at least once (often multiple times) within every course that I’ve enrolled in. A value judgment, in the context that I am referring, can be defined as “an estimate, usually subjective, of the worth, quality, goodness, evil, etc., of something or someone..” In other words, it is placing judgment upon something (or someone) that you really don’t know anything about, without regard for the point of view of others. This topic is one that I’ve always felt strongly about, and I’ve learned through multiple discussions at UTD that many other students feel the same way. But somehow, regardless of the fact that no one seems to agree with placing value judgments upon one another, people continue to do it anyway.  It is almost as if it is an instinctual reaction. Continue reading »

Mar 192013

With the evolution of 3-d printing, functional fashion is due a radical awakening.  I’m not talking about structural creations with which some of the well established fashion houses have begun to experiment.  Within the next decade we should see the capability to print human tissue using a patient’s own stem cells, and eventually biomedical engineers will be able to grow replacement organs and limbs.  For now, 3-d printing is finding a niche in artistic prosthetics. Continue reading »

Apr 102012
Hussein Chalayan's Laser Dress, 2008

Figure 1. Hussein Chalayan’s Laser Dress in 2008

The word “cyborg” likely conjures all sorts of dystopian imagery to mind. I know when I hear it I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a high tech costume with guns blazing, relentlessly blasting away at Sarah Conner. That’s probably the image that most folks think of actually. However is that what a real cyborg actually looks like in real life? Yes, I did write “real cyborg” and “real life.” Most people don’t realize this but there are real live cyborgs walking around every day right here in the year 2012. What’s more, they’ve been here, on this planet I mean, for as long as everyone else has and you probably even know quite a few of them. In fact, I am a cyborg myself. Continue reading »

Mar 252012
1980s Jem

Original Jem (image courtesy of

(Via io9Hipster He-Man and Other High-Fashion Cartoon Heroes.)

I don’t know that I would change a thing about Jem’s (of Jem and the Holograms) 1980’s glam pop fashion sense, but otherwise these are kind of fun.

Ciraolo's Jem

Ciraolo's Jem (CC BY-NC-ND image courtesy of





I like the artist’s aesthetic. I like his use of collage techniques and find myself fascinated by the repeated starfield background.

However, looking at the io9 blog post, I was immediately struck by the sort of predictable fan-art tendency to depict female characters with heightened degrees of sexuality (i.e. hipster-clad Rainbow Brite and Lala Orange depicted as though interrupted in a moment of charged intimacy). This seems like a classic representation of “girl on girl action” for hetero male pleasure that reinforces mainstream representations of women as sex objects to be gazed upon. Sure, there are all sorts of alternative uses to which these fantasies and depictions might be put. But as I said above, it just seems a bit predictable. Admittedly, once the images are situated on Fabian Ciraolo’s blog they stand out less and seem part of an overall running theme of pop culture iconoclasm. Which reduces the predicability factor.

So my suggestion would be to view the images on Ciraolo’s blog, appreciating the cartoon fashion makeovers as they are interspersed between the artist’s other work.

Mar 122012

M Saraswathy’s brief BusinessWorld article (Tech Couture: Fashion keeps a date with augmented reality) outlines some recent uses of AR in advertising, including uses at Lakme Fashion Week. The article ends with a tempered approach suggesting that so far, advertisers have not been able to tell if AR translates into more sales.

Even so, the possibilites for augmented reality with fashion advertising seem endless. Because clothing is a visual communicator, AR offers many interesting possibilities for layering visuals over bodies, environments, etc. The “Fashionista” tool below allows shoppers to try on clothing wherever they may be, using augmented reality.


But AR offers other tantalizing prospects for causing disjunction in the public spaces in which clothing is sold and worn.

So far the most interesting uses of AR that I have seen have been for aesthetic or critical purposes. I can envision AR being used for purposes like overlaying images of the workers who produce clothing items or the workshops in which they are produced. Or statistics about ethically sourced material. Or overlaying images of real women over advertisements or mannequins. Or, or, or…

A few links to interesting AR projects:

Dec 152011

Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Show

The fashion industry has certainly built a fierce reputation. It can be unethical, judgmental, and profoundly inequitable. Yet, it still remains alluring, innovative and a space for creative collaboration. I think the latter attributes are in part a result of the exclusivity of the high end fashion world. Arguably, nothing is more elite, more select, than a runway show. These full on events, as they have evolved into, are not simple and random showings of a few items. These shows are full on productions and as they grow in popularity, more and more people want an opportunity to experience such an exaggerated performance.

For decades, attending these shows has been the privilege of the fashion world insiders: models, celebrities, and the wealthy. Over the past few years, designers have filmed their fashion shows for general release at later times, or allowed viewers to watch live streams over the internet. And while this has absolutely afforded new groups the luxury of moving into a once secret world, there still seems to be something missing. We laud our current technology as being so clear, so sharp, so high definition that it’s like the real thing. But is this really the case? Can a televised/streamed event be a substitute for the actual performance? Until about a month ago, I think my answer was yes. But after seeing the Gaultier Exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art, I think my previous answer was based on the fact that I had never seen such works up close. They were more than just clothes, they were works of art and I was able to get a new appreciation for the works without seeing them through a television or computer screen.


Gaultier at Dallas Museum of Art

The exhibit wasn’t inspiring because of a lack of technology but more so the removal of an intrusive screen between me and the fashion. I was able to experience the texture, color, and draping of the fabric as it was naturally. In an environment where we are mobile and increasingly creating, buying, and communicating solely in digital formats, being at the exhibit was a nice change of pace. It made the fashions and, thus the designer, tangible. They were not figments of a digital imagination, but pieces of art that someone laboriously took the time to make.

With that being said these works, by no means, were ordinary or every day. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I was able to have a personal experience but with very recognizable and over the top costumes. The exclusivity inherent in fashion shows was not lost, but merely transformed into something that multiple people could experience at once without feeling like they were being intruded upon or receiving a watered down version of the rule thing.

And perhaps my fascination with the exhibit is so prominent because I feel (and have been labeled) as an outsider because of my body shape. My presence at the Gaultier exhibit was of course fun, but it was also a little bit daring. To see my frame against the frame of a model (albeit an inanimate one) felt strange. At the real exhibit, would I see someone like me? Someone my size. Plus size.

I was able to be in the front row for a collection that I could never have anticipated doing in “real life” and that is why this exhibit was worth seeing for me. I am continuously fascinated by the questions surrounding someone’s access and opportunity to various experiences. In both the academic and fashion worlds we often take the experience of one person or one group and hold it as truth for all people. This is inaccurate and problematic. Now, of course, the exhibit is not without any barriers to access – you have to pay to get in, if you’re not asked to pay then you will need to be a part of an academic group, and if you have no connection to high fashion, then even with this exhibit seemingly at your fingertips, it can still remain as elusive as a haute couture show in Paris.

However, there is still something to be said for its existence and for Jean Paul Gaultier’s desire to share his art with a larger audience of people than would typically be allowed access to it.



Dec 072011

I have been super fascinated by 3D printers lately. 3D printers are an additive manufacturing process that, through the use of digital prototyping, print layers of material to create 3D objects using heat applied to a material such as metal or liquid polymer. While 3D printers are typically used in engineering and more technical industries, it is fascinating to see what fashion designers are thinking up using this new tool as a medium.

Iris van Herpen uses 3D printers to develop uniquely constructed dresses that were shown during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week this year. She has an amazing collection of very diverse and interesting dresses – one designed specifically for Bjork. (There’s a very interesting video on Herpen’s site) The 3D structures she is able to create allows for a new kind of feeling from the polymer textile. A designer using 3D printers must make room for new considerations around things like flexibility and fit not seen with traditional fabric materials. Continue reading »

Dec 062011

With the debut of the new Burberry Bespoke site, it seems the international brand Burberry is taking a queue from fashion designer Pia Myrvold. One of our resources for the semester, Techno Fashion by Bradley Quinn, discusses the designer and the challenges she faces as the fashion Press finds difficulty accepting the admittedly original clothing. In an environment where magazines are losing sales, Myrvold’s collection, which can be interactively designed by the consumer online, is challenging traditional ideas around “art, architecture, philosophy and music.” (p. 78)

Myrvold, a multi-media artist, creates what she called “blank-page” dresses displayed in all white material that may be customized online by her clients, in full 3D view. Each dress is sectioned off in an artistic manner and a selection of prints remains on screen to be drag-and-dropped to each section. Orders are then sent to the crafters to piece the garments together for final delivery. Her motivation seems to be the conceptual shift that comes with the challenge of a DIY piece. Continue reading »