• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

A Women 2.0 Fashion Show: Exploring the Possibilities of Wearable Tech

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Meet the amazing innovators who will be showcasing their jaw-dropping work at the wearables fashion show at our Las Vegas conference.

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

Companies that produce wearable technology and the fashion industry are a bit like two people on a first date. There’s lots of intrigue and a fair bit of heat, but also a lot of awkwardness and unanswered questions. How will these two players get on together? Can they bridge their differences in order to create something beautiful?

It’s a question both the tech and fashion press have been pondering lately, with Google Glass featuring in fashion spreads and at NY fashion week, and the likes of Wired and VentureBeat running articles with headlines such as “Why wearable tech makers need to court the fashion industry.” And now Women 2.0 is jumping into the discussion in a unique way — at our upcoming conference we’re throwing a full blown wearables fashion show to delve into the intersection of fashion and technology, exploring all the possibilities beyond just a cuter SmartWatch or less geeky Glass.

So who’s participating? Famed Thievery Corporation drummer Congo Sanchez for one. He’s DJing the fashion show before performing a private concert with guest MC’s Flex Mathews and Haile Supreme for attendees, check out their beats! See the founders, designers and artists who will present their work on the runway below.

Linda Franco (Co-founder, Machina)

Think wearables need to be clunky to be effective tech? Franco and her co-founder are out to prove otherwise. “We asked ourselves: ‘what if we could create a functional clothing line with technology embedded into it?’ We knew that many designers and creatives such as Hussein Chalayan had already begun to integrate technology into clothing. The issue was that clothing had never been functional,” she told The Next Women. “The idea took off when we realized that wearable technology was mostly made from the engineer’s perspective and not from the designer’s perspective.”

What’s the product that result from this epiphany? She explained her company’s innovative design to Women 2.0: “We’ve integrated sensors into a jacket for musicians to create music with motion. We’re providing an API so that people can play with the jacket however they see fit.  We raised over $77,000 USD on Kickstarter. Our mission is to create wearable technology that is fashionable, functional and adaptable. The Midi Controller Jacket is only one of our products. We have a hoodie with speakers integrated into it. It let’s you listen to music without having to insert headphones in your ear.” Check her out on Twitter @LindaLFranco, or get a better sense of the jackets by watching their kickstarter campaign video:

Roopa Vasudevan (Artist/Founder, Hate Couture)

Not all mash-ups of tech and fashion are driven by a desire to more seamlessly interact with our gadgets. Some arise from other artistic impulses and aim to use to tech to expand the possibilities of fashion and dig into the implications of the digital revolution. Take the work of Roopa Vasudevan.

Vasudevan is an artist, activist and documentarian currently based in New York, who utilizes language, data, textiles, video and the Internet as tools to enable communities to take back and re-appropriate words and behavior that have been harmful to them in the past. As she explains on her blog, her project Hate Couture “is a series of high-fashion garments created through analysis of the usage and context of hate speech on the internet.”

“One week of hate speech against a single demographic was scraped from Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube between March 25-31, 2013, and analyzed using algorithmic language processing and sentiment analysis to determine the severity of each instance. Each comment was assigned a sentiment score, which was used to place it on a five-shade spectrum of a single hue,” she writes. “Then a visualization of the entire week was then printed on a bolt of fabric, the length corresponding to the total volume of text collected. In collaboration with a fashion designer from the group attacked, a single garment was then constructed from the entire length that was inspired by the impact of the language itself.”

Here’s a sneak peak at what the results look like:

Kristin Neidlinger (Founder, SENSOREE)

Kristin Neidlinger crafts wearable technology promoting what she calls “extimacy” or externalized intimacy for example with garments that sense the wearer’s heartbeat and make it visible to the world.

Heart Sync from SENSOREE on Vimeo.

Or how about a sweater that displays your mood in a far higher tech version of those color-changing rings you used to have as a kid:

SENSOREE GER: Mood Sweater from SENSOREE on Vimeo.

Follow her work on Twitter @sensoree or Facebook.

Hövding Airbag for Cyclists

Wearable tech isn’t just for connection and artistic expression, it can also be for safety as Sweden’s Hövding proves. Founded by industrial designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, Hövding is an ingenious invention designed to ensure cyclists come out of collisions alive — no helmet hair involved. This video will show you what this ‘invisible  helmet’ looks like in action.

Intrigued to see more innovative fashion tech? Join us in Vegas (discounts available here) and keep an eye on this space where we’ll be announcing more participants in the fashion show shortly.

What’s your top prediction for the future of wearables?

jessicaJessica Stillman (@entrylevelrebel) is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others.

Photo credit: SENSOREE