FashionTech session ThingsCon

Tech driven intimacy in fashion

Within Fashion Design a new specialty surfaced where electronics found their way into clothing. These mutations are known as FashionTech or Wearables and are in need of different design paradigms. These paradigms are the focus at the Thingscon conference, to be held in Amsterdam on December the 1st and 2nd.


In FashionTech different disciplines come together. New technologies have influence in the characteristics of materials. Intelligent garments can adapt to the use or can have different functions. They can adapt to their surroundings or keep their wearers warm or cold. Next to the new characteristics they can affect the connectedness of the wearer. Smart garments can facilitate contact at a distance, for instance or send messages to other people. “The characteristics of garment can be defined by the context or information exchange”, says Iskander Smit, curator of Thingscon.

Iksander Smit

Smit is considered an international expert on The Internet of Things, says he has special interest to see how the discipline of fashion is changing on different levels. “New technologies trigger for new design challenges. Garments that adapt to their environment of the moment, or can show or feel certain data and information. A fashion design is an interaction designer too. Fashion will be more of a product design. On the other hand, product design and interaction design can learn a lot from the way fashion design think about things that define an identity of a person, that are so closely related to the body.”

In his view fashion designers have long operated in the world of intimacy and have excelled in wearability. “There is a lot to be learned from Fashion Designers when it comes to designing interfaces on the body. Any interface that is close and permanent to the body will be in the intimate space of its wearer. This opens up new dimensions in fashion, product and interface design.”


The internet of Things is rapidly changing consumer technology. But according to Smit we are still very much in the explorative stage of thinking on the impact of new technologies in fashion. “FashionTech is still in development. But developments are ongoing. I can imagine a future of garments that can change the shape of a person or adapts to the feeling of its wearer. In the future fashion might be part of a system, that changes the way we pay for clothes, depending the moment of wearing. In fashion design new disciplines will work together. Traditional fashion designers and product designers, technologists, programmers, social touch specialists. All will have a role in the development and need to work together to inspire each other.”

At the conference ThingsCon in Amsterdam on 1 & 2 December, this new field of fashion design for connected and adaptive garments will be the topics of one of the sessions. Thingscon is collaborating with Aduen Darriba Frederiks, a long time researcher and maker in this field. He worked with Anouk Wipprecht on her famous Smoke dress and is part of a research program to haptics as interaction.

His current project is The TaSST sleeve. It is a unique project that makes it possible to send touch via the internet to another person. Together with Gijs Huisman who does his PhD in these social touch technology. Gijs found out what the human principles of touch are and how we can mimic these with touch technology.

If you want to join the ThingsCon conference on the design and making of human-centric and responsible Internet of Things, can offer a discount code for 50 euro’s. Use the code TCAMS16_dc-50euro while registering.