For a few years now, fashion’s relationship with technology has been undergoing a change. From incorporating technology into designs just because we could, or because it ‘looked cool’, there’s been a move towards fashion/tech collabs as solutions for environmental, social, and medical issues.
As suggested by Surface Tension founders Rosie Broadhead and writer & artist Wilson Oryema, this shift may have been catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which brings attention to our skin, “the barrier between us and the world around us” and raises the question, “how can the materials that we wear or interact with can offer both protection and improve our wellbeing?”
Source: Surface Tension
Surface Tension is a digital exhibition that looks at the potential of new garments to positively affect how our bodies interact with the world. The online exhibition ‘rooms’ of Surface Tension feature digital renderings of 17 wearable objects created by material designers, artists, fashion designers, architects, and scientists.
Offerings include a ‘Seaweed Encapsulated Baselayer’ which can aid in cell regeneration and reduce inflammation by Skin Series, a Design Mechanical Counter Pressure (MCP) Glove, which enables normal blood flow when working in outer space, and a host of DOES Works ‘Biometric Protection Accessories’ — including Iris, Nospores and, yes, Anus Protection devices. The latter aimed at protecting our body from institutional surveillance and biometric analysis.
But hold on. These biometric ‘butt-plugs’ aren’t actually available to buy yet. Nor are most of the objects seen in Surface Tension. While some, like the MCP Glove, may be currently in development, other items are purely speculative. Additionally, two more items, a CBD tampon by Daye and the Allbirds TrinoXO™ Tee made using discarded crab shells, are on the market now.
By curating both hypothetical concepts and projects which are already underway in the same exhibition, Surface Tension intends to “accelerate progress of the industry, for a future where the body and surface are considered simultaneously.”
Source: Surface Tension
While some of the concepts may be just that and others’ realised, physical products, Surface Tension manages to seamlessly straddle current wearable innovations and future visions — situating the future of wearable tech in the present and showing people what’s possible.