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EPSRC Reference: EP/C516281/1
Title: The Emotional Wardrobe
Principal Investigator: Woolley, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Heath, Professor C Chalmers, Professor M Farrer, Professor J
Baurley, Professor S Pitt, Professor J Goulev, Dr P
Murphy, Professor R Excell, Professor PS
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Miss L Stead
Project Partners:
Hewlett Packard Oakdene Hollins Ltd Vodafone
Department: School of Art
Organisation: University of the Arts London
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 January 2005 Ends: 31 December 2005 Value (£): 50,958
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design Engineering Human-Computer Interactions
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Electronics
Creative Industries
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The central idea of the Cluster is The Emotional Wardrobe, in which the conventions and cultures of fashion, as an expressive, emotional and communicative medium, are extended by integrating computer intelligence and digital communications. Similarly, digitally-augmented clothing is a paradigmatic goal of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp), the approach to computer design that takes advantage of mobile technology, wireless networks and persona Iisation. The Emotional Wardrobe is a fashion tool to explore and express the human condition, and it reveals and addresses emergent social, environmental, personal and technological concerns. It creates new challenges for design thinking in fashion and in computing. Our aim is to establish an interdisciplinary community centred on these themes, willing and able to advance design research by combining conceptual work with practical design examples and working prototypes. In our vision of ubiquitous computing, digital systems will extend to clothing (and other everyday objects) via smart textiles and materials, which means that fashion will become a mediator of technology. To date much `wearable' technology has been developed by the electronics and technology sectors and has utilised clothing as a carrier of entertainment and communication systems, adding increased functionality. Less research has focused on the exploitation of technology for aesthetic communicative and expressive purpose. What we are talking about here is a ... revolution - one which will require the electronics industry to think emotionally ... we can not expect the fashion industry to adapt itself to technology. Rather the technology industry will have to learn how to deal with fashion. This illustrates that it is the fields of electronics and technology that are embracing technology for the body rather than the fashion industry. The majority of the fashion industry is not exploiting the potential that technology could offer, there are few fashion designers experimenting with its application although notable exceptions are designers such as Elise Dee Co., who came out of MIT. It is interesting to note that this example is a designer working within a technology institute and not a fashion institute or industry. To address the emotional application of technology on the body a union of the two industries is required. The integration of smart functionality into clothing and other textile products will fundamentally change cultures of clothing, peoples' relationships with them, and the way clothing is designed. The development process will require information and communication technology (ICT) design cultures to be synthesised with established cultures of clothing and clothing design, and this will require a multi-disciplinary approach, transcending the current boundaries, languages and processes of the industries involved. This cluster will bring together the disparate and largely unassimilated disciplines of fashion and technology and ask and assess whether such a merger can bring added value to the consumer and the industries involved and what this will mean to the process of research, creation and production of an Emotional Wardrobe. Fashion is the idea vehicle to communicate technological and social issues as it reaches such a wide audience.
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