The first Wearable Futures conference in this (possible) series, fully dedicated to wearable technology, innovation and future concepts was recently held at Ravensbourne, London. The event bought together some of the most influential persons in this field, conceptual thinkers and innovative wearable tech makers, for two full days of exposure, discussion and debate. What seemed to be interesting was the mix of interdisciplinary professions all immersed in this one related field of ‘wearable futures’ – highlighting the importance of collaborative works and the need to share and push knowledge beyond single discipline platforms. This was a point raised in a few of the discussions, emphasising the potential of wearable technologies if more collaborative practices were initiated, committed to and continued to advance. Some of these practices that proved to thrive from such interdisciplinary working relationships showcased some exciting works.
The skill of making alongside technology was another point that reiterated amongst discussions, particularly with ‘softer’ wearables. To truly integrated technology and digital capabilities into garments or soft goods, an essential understanding of making and construction can only enhance this prospect. Hearing of innovative projects raised much interest such as the digital bandages, tracking shoes, making on the spot garment patterns and growing textiles to name a few.
A whole host of other projects were also displayed and discussed, including two physical exhibits of wearable tech products and concepts. Weft Lab also presented in the research stream, focusing on academic research of woven e-textiles.
One of the highlights remains the opening presentations by Clara Gaggero, David Ban and James Birdle; session titled ‘Wearable Past, Present and Future’, encapsulating the essence of the conference and can be seen here. A huge well done to the conference organisers – an excellent inaugural event.