Tech meets nature and appearance

The ideal of what beauty is varies by country, but also the effort people make to pursue this can vary. Often people blame the media of creating this image. In TV shows and fashion magazines awfully thin models are seen. This can be the cause of a negative self-image, but this doesn’t influences everyone. But the thing that is of even greater impact on our self-image, are our immediate contacts. This group has a greater impact on the formation of our body image than we think.

A shift is noticed when it comes to outer appearance. Previously, it were mainly the women who had to be good looking because this was how they got a man. Because women in the Netherlands are becoming more independent, thanks to education, they also have a voice in this. Now, men are also expected to spend more attention to their appearance.

In the area of appearance, a lot is going on. Styles change fast, slow fashion companies are up coming and technological developments intertwine with fashion.

The Dutch fashiontech-designer Anouk Wipprecht is connecting people and technology, she calls this interfacing. Anouk is often working abroad. Apart from lectures and exhibitions, she curates events where people from the tech, fashion and design are brought together. She indicates that these sectors can learn a lot from each other and she states that communication is an important issue. A need to balance aesthetics and technology appears.

Technological developments make way for many new possibilities. It is important to share knowledge and developments because cross-sectoral it can provide many new features. But for this to work it is important that people don’t patent certain developments. An example where this did happened, is with the pigment Vantablack. At the moment, this is the darkest shade of black substance that we know of. The pigment takes in 99.96% of the light. Vantablack was initially developed for military purpose and astronomy equipment. However, the artist Anish Kapoor got the exclusive right of usage on this pigment.

Another signal that has emerged from the dark is The Smart Jacket by Vodafone. This is an interactive jacket that, thanks to GPS, displays the road you turn in, using light signals on the textile. Mobile technology will not only be of negative influence on our driving skills, it can also contribute to a safer traffic. Through the fusion of technology and fashion, the road will become a lot safer. The jacket was developed due to the fact that bicycle accidents occur eight times more in the dark then during the day.

Apart from aesthetics and safety, it is also nice if technology ease’s your life. Nike knows how to contribute to improving your quality of life. The brand came up with the first self-strapping shoe, Nike Hyper Adapt 1.0. It has a trigger placed in the heel of the shoe, so that when you put on the shoe and you step on this trigger, it automatically laces. Nike was also seen at the Milano Design Week 2016 where the Nike footwear design team was challenged to research the future of natural motion. They designed several shoe models, which in particular focused on freedom of motion. Important was that your feet would have plenty of moving space and would given the feeling that you were bare feet. Several new materials and methods were used to create a natural feeling.

There certainly is a need for technology in the appearance sector, yet it is also desirable that we get this familiar feeling by giving it a natural look and feel. This is where 3D printing comes up. The Kinematic Petal Dress is a dress that is 3D printed and consists of thousands of interlocking parts that look and feel natural and allows a range of movement. The dress was inspired by all kinds of natural elements like feathers, petals and scales.

In the field of hairdressing there are new methods on dyeing hair. In California, the team of Hair Print, came up with a completely non-toxic hair dye which can restore gray hairs. They even claim that their product works better than the chemical treatments that we have been using for many years now.

Especially for The Netherlands, as a denim country, there is more good news. There is a new electrochemical technology, which doesn’t burden the environment as it used to do. The present method, for which hydrosulfate is used, removes oxygen from water and is of great damage to the environment. The Swiss group Sedo Engineering has developed a new indigo-dye method in which no hydrosulphate is being used, it is called Smart Indigo. The denim-substance gets electrocuted, which ensures that the indigo pigment-attaches to the fabric without hydrosulphate being required.

We can state that there is a need for technological developments, but a feeling of back to nature as well. Do you pick one or the other, or do you think combining the two has future growth potential? Tech meets nature, and offers many possibilities. Sustainability, Sharing Economy and Technologisation are just a few trends that have been mentioned.

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