Electricfoxy’s Move

Our machines dress us, and undress us

My perspective on fashion and tech for Leeds Digital Fashion Week in October 2012…

Fashion is language — a syntax, a grammar and a vocabulary — a language in which our machines are gaining fluency. They dress us, and undress us.

Robots in Boston and Brooklyn fabricate and architect impossible geometries around our feet; heels named for twisted physics. Algorithms approximate our bones and nerves and genes, weaving jewels from powdered ceramics and steel. Seamless structures of code and cotton quietly obsolete the needle and thread, tailoring personal fabrics to our bodies.

Machine eyes in Paris and Milan follow their makers, anticipating trending hues and shades of the day. Dissidents evade the robot gaze with hair, makeup and garments that camouflage the biological from the digital. A New Aesthetic for human style.

Shoebox-sized drones haul boxes from the Amazon to your door. Today’s wardrobe is realtime, on-demand and on-trend, no longer things, but avatars for the Cloud. Levis-as-a-service? Buttons and rivets and pockets and cuffs, and the Web is the thread that holds it together.

Life itself is optimised and synthesised for style. Biocouturists in London grow dresses from vats of bacterial cellulose and hemp, populating farms of insects. with new biologies. Animal algorithms programmed to spin hydrophobic threads and silks.

We wear the machines and they wear us; garments with sentience — thinking, reacting, transforming, expressing and sensing. We wear the threads that cleanse the air, of poisons from machines we make.

Guided by apps and phones and clever clothes, dancers and athletes remain suspended in that perfect movement, playing and replaying graceful physics that connect them to the elations of action and reaction.

Our machines dress us, and undress us. Couture is now code, grown in labs and fabs and incubators.

But we still run this show, it’s people that’ll assemble this future of fashion, even if those people are no longer human.

Originally published at Cowbird, in October 2012.