In Touch With the Now: Stimulating Mindfulness through a Smart Denim Jacket
THE FIRST EDITION OF THE ARTEZ APRIA JOURNAL FEATURES AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY PAULINE VAN DONGEN AND LIANNE TOUSSAINT, FOLLOWING THEIR PRESENTATION AT THE FASHION COLLOQUIUM ARNHEM, JUNE 2018.
In a 24/7 economy, mindfulness is the new luxury. The ‘always-on’ society causes restless and stressful states of mind at the expense of our ability to simply ‘be in the present’. Using a responsive garment that gives the wearer gentle haptic feedback as a case study, this paper explores how smart fashion can encourage a more mindful relation between the wearer, the garment, and their environment. This paper proposes a postphenomenological approach to smart fashion, acknowledging the ways in which interactive garments can mediate human experiences and practices. First, the postphenomenological notion of ‘material aesthetics’ (Verbeek 2005) will be employed to emphasize the central role of materiality in enabling more ‘mindful’ wearer experiences. We will use interview data to provide insight into the role of materiality in actual wearer experiences of our case study: an interactive denim jacket that echoes social interactions through the sensation of a subtle stroke on the back. Based on these personal accounts of the garment, we will then discuss how the integration of haptic technology into fashion influences the wearer’s embodied experience. Finally, we will address how smart fashion can stimulate wearers to become more mindful of their bodies and, ultimately, more in touch with the now. The paper is unique in combining design practice and theoretical reflection, with insights gained from interviews with wearers. Noting how technology often tends to direct our attention away from, rather than towards, our embodied subjectivity, we develop a critical argument for designing intelligent fashion from and for embodied experience.
Source: APRIA, issue #00, 30 May 2019
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