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The Skin as Metaphor: Fashion, Technology & Body

Technologies enrich and amplify the cognitive characteristics of our human skin and stimuli of our senses. The skin manages temperature fluctuations, transforms into shapes, interfaces with the environment, changes color, and reacts to pollution. Computational smart textiles as our second skin adopt these functionalities metaphorically to re-create, modify or extend them by using technology. The sensations created through computation and the manipulation of data can create visual, tactile, tangible, and sensory experiences for the wearer that can be transferred easily over distance. The garments manufactured with computational smart fabrics are nodes in a larger network. They capture data for the possible adaptation to the environment or body data that might lead to the transformation of human behavior. The next generation of computational smart textiles shall become self-contained energy systems that derive energy through the sun, movement, or temperature fluctuations.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Today wearable technology is a buzz word in the sports, fitness, and wellness industries. Why are wearable technology and smart textiles of importance to the fashion industry? Is there a market?
  2. Soft computation refers to smart textiles, flexible sensors, printable circuits, ... Why do we need to make wearable technology soft? What are computational smart fabrics? Which technologies will drive the market? Why is a cell phone regarded as an important device for wearables today?
  3. The advances in material science have brought us Lycra, Gore-Tex, etc. Who are the companies and research institutes of the future and which materials will be relevant?
  4. The design and manufacturing of technically enhanced garments require the intersection of various skill sets like fashion design, textile engineering, software programming, mechatronics, etc. What are the models of collaboration that can be applied to the fashion industry?
  5. Our skin manages temperature fluctuations, transforms into shapes, interfaces with the environment, changes color, and reacts to pollution, etc. Which functions will be interesting for the fashion industry and its different market segments?



Sabine Seymour, Chief Creative Officer, Moondial Inc

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