bathinfashion2016For the seventh year, the world heritage city of Bath opened its doors to budding fashionistas for Bath in Fashion. Featuring catwalks, workshops, talks and in-store events, we get our very own glimpse into this ever-evolving world. With the intersection of fashion and technology becoming more prevalent it seemed only fitting that Bath welcomed pioneers in the fashion-tech space to present the “Wearable Tech Masterclass”.

“It is estimated that 1 in 7 of us now own a piece of wearable technology”


Bath’s very own fashion museum provided the backdrop for a talk on where wearable technology began and where the collaboration between fashion and technology may be heading.

John Weir, COO of the Wearable Technology Show started the masterclass by guiding us through the world of wearable tech. From smart clothing, to jewellery, to baby monitors, it is estimated that 1 in 7 of us now own a piece of wearable technology. Whether this is for function, fashion or stemming from brand affinity companies are now beginning to create wearable tech seen as personal customisable accessories.

david-bionic-hand-open-bionicsOne local company that John spoke of was multi-award winning Open Bionics. Based at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory they are pioneering the way in the development of modular robotic hand and prosthetic devices (see right). Creators of the Iron Man hand and the Star Wars Lightsaber hand, they are forging the way for the prosthetics, creating robotic hands that children be excited to wear.

Interactive fashion

Next to speak were Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz, the co-founders of CuteCircuit. Their pieces are not only high fashion but are pushing the boundaries of wearables in innovative ways. So far, they’ve created garments for Katy Perry and Nicole Scherzinger, designed new uniforms for Easyjet and have had special projects commissioned by the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago.

“The sound shirt has been designed to allow deaf people to feel the touch of music”


CuteCircuit_NYFW_AW14_Grand_Finale_photo-by-theodoros-chliapasPerhaps their most impressive creation so far is the Hug Shirt – nominated one of the Best Inventions back in 2006 by Time Magazine. With haptic sensors embedded within the material it is able to reproduce the sensation of touch and warmth from a faraway loved one. Using sensors and actuators, a “virtual hug” can be transferred via a Bluetooth-enabled phone and then sent to another wearing the Hug Shirt.

Genz and Rosella spoke of one of their new projects titled the Sound Shirt produced in collaboration with the Jurgen Symphoniker Hamburg. Akin to the Hug Shirt it has been designed to allow deaf people to feel the touch of music. The Sound Shirt offers varying haptic sensations depending on the instrument being played, creating an immersive orchestral experience.

So, where next?

John, Ryan and Francesca all spoke of how they see a push towards wearables becoming more personal in the health and medical space. From implantables to ingestibles and haptic wearables to help Multiple Sclerosis patients, it seems the demand in the medical space is strong.

The world of wearables is so diverse, bringing with it countless opportunities to create pieces for lifestyle, communication, security, medical and fitness. Wearables seem set to converge with all aspects of life, so it’s hard to predict what we will see next but there are certainly innovations around the corner for wearables that are easily accessible, beneficial, and desirable.