An exciting new field in the creative industry is the integration of fashion and technology, for example by embedding electronics, microprocessors, solar panels, LEDs, or interactive interfaces into the fabric, textile, or clothing. Dutch designers like Pauline van Dongen, Iris van Herpen, Bart Hess, Lucy McRae, Marina Toeters and Anouk Wipprecht form the vanguard in the international field of fashionable technology. However, while the future of fashionable technology, or ‘wearables’, has been announced many times, the praxis lags behind. Wearables rarely leave the lab or catwalk, because they are not tested through the entire production chain; the aesthetics of the design is not integrated in the technology; or they remain a gadget without taking into account the wearer’s body, identity or performance.

The interdisciplinary research project ‘Crafting Wearables’ aims at designing wearables that are robust, fashionable as well as commercially viable within the production chain. In order to achieve this aim, the team and participating partners bring together the different fields of fashion, technology, industry, and academic scholarship. Through interrelated research projects the interdisciplinary programme will bridge the gap between theory and practice, experiment and industry, and design and production. As a result, the project will not only craft wearables but also analyse how fashionable technology relates to identity, comprehend its social impact, bring technology closer to fashion design, and make it a competitive branch of the creative industry in The Netherlands.

The project flyer can be downloaded here (PDF, in Dutch).


This research project entails a cooperation between:
// Radboud University Nijmegen: prof.dr. Anneke Smelik (project leader)
// Technical University Eindhoven: prof. dr. Ron Wakkary, dr. Oscar Tómicó Plasencia, and dr.ir. Stephan Wensveen
// ArtEZ Fashion Academy Arnhem: prof. José Teunissen

And the following private and public partners:
// Philips Research, Textile Museum Tilburg | Textile Lab, MODINT, Freedom of Creation, Solar Fiber, Inntex, Xsens

Researchers involved in the project are:
// Ph.D. with Radboud University: Lianne Toussaint MA, supervised by prof. dr. Anneke Smelik and prof. dr. ir. Peter-Paul Verbeek (University of Twente)
// Ph.D. and designer with Technical University Eindhoven: Pauline van Dongen, supervised by prof. dr. Ron Wakkary, dr. Oscar Tómicó Plasencia and dr. Stephan Wensveen

The junior researchers conducting the embedded research are:
// Maartje Couwenberg
// Paola Tognazzi
// Ralph Zoontjens
// Marina Toeters
// Drua Sif Simone Albrechtsen

The research is financed by NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), with a contribution in kind from the private partners. The project starts in September 2013 and finishes in June 2018.

Crafting Wearables is funded by NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)..