16 hours ago | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
Wearable tech is one of the most interesting areas in fashion at the moment, and it’s something we have explored a lot on WGSN, as brands grapple with how to sync their product with technology in a useful, seamless way.
This New York Fashion Week, WGSN’s Luke Tebbutt went to a fashion show for a brand that looks like it’s successfully making its mark in this emerging area.
Ab[Screenwear]’s first NYFW show explored the future of wearable tech – with an emphasis on wearable.
Here are five things we loved about the collection:
Just as the 20th century had the denim jacket, Ab[Screenwear] has designed a jacket fit for the 21st century, with shiny panels of dichroic polyurethane inspired by phone screens. The panels change colour as they crease and catch the light, but are also designed as placeholders for a future when we could literally be wearing our content on our sleeves.
“At the moment the function of the panels is aesthetic, but when the technology is available, they could become a media platform to show content such as videos from phones or tablets, so your garment becomes your screen,” designer Olya Petrova Jackson told WGSN.
Merino wool mittens that are soft as a lamb on one side and have touchscreen-friendly panels on the other side. What’s not to love about that? Oh, and they also come with shoulder straps so they can double as bags. We’ve placed our orders.
Wearable tech often favours gimmicks over wearability, but not so with Ab[Screenwear]. The collection is heavy with luxurious and tactile materials – think shearling and cashmere coats, cotton blouses, and low-back party dresses woven with metallic panels.
“Materiality is very important for me,” says Petrova Jackson, who trained at Parsons School of Design in New York before working at Ralph Lauren and Maiyet. “I love the human body, and my clothing is made for that. I make clothing that I would love to wear.”
Forget elaborate productions with fancy sets and seats reserved for the name Jenner. Ab[Screenwear]’s presentation at Tribeca’s Postmasters Gallery had more in common with a 1960s art happening. Models got dressed in a building across the road and made their entrance on the street. Some stood on podiums filming guests through their mittens (see above). Three danced and writhed in front of a smoke machine. Strange? Yes. Memorable? Even more so.
Petrova Jackson collaborated with Ukrainian artist Tereza Barabash to turn offcuts of leather, mesh and other materials from previous collections into new fabrics for her latest collection.
“There’s so much over-production and waste in the fashion industry, and I wouldn’t want to be part of that system,” she says.
Ab[Screenwear]’s handcrafted clothes also eschew the relentless – and some might say unsustainable – pace of the fashion calendar for a slower, more seasonless approach to design. “It’s been interesting showing during New York Fashion Week, but I have never wanted to go by the industry calendar for my collections. The industry is all over the place at the moment anyway, in terms of timing,” she says.
Presentation Images: Jason Lasswell
Backstage Photos: Sonny Vandevelde/Sonny Photos
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