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FFF Seminars: Alternative Presents for Dynamic Fabric

Time: Fri 2021-02-19 13.00

Location: Online

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On our next Fancy Formal Friday seminar organised by the IxD team, we will be welcoming Angella Mackey who will talk about "Alternative Presents for Dynamic Fabric".


Dynamic, colour-changing textiles have been widely explored in wearables and smart textiles discourse over the last two decades. Commonly produced using LEDs or thermochromic inks, these fabrics allude to a future textile that could act like a computer screen while still maintaining the qualities of something soft and wearable. There have been significant prototypical contributions to this area, but very little is known about how such a fabric might be experienced in everyday life. Is this something desirable? What does it mean to wear a screen? In this doctoral research, I use myself as an instrument to examine the lived experience of wearing dynamic colour-changing fabrics in daily life, and also explore how they might change design processes in the context of fashion. Through two case studies over three years, I wear and work with a dynamic fabric that can be technically described as a live, wearable greenscreen, as way to mimic qualities of a future form. Engaging it in a research through design approach, I blended strategies from speculative design and autobiographical design in order to capture and understand these experiences , offering several insights into the implications of dynamic fabric on everyday dress and design. Moreover, I reflect on how my understanding of the concept of dynamic fabric changed over time using an approach called alternative presents.