• WEAR: Wearable technologists engage with artists for responsible innovation: Analysis, insights, outcomes and impact

Baker, Camille ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4688-916X, Bryan-Kinns, Nick ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1382-2914 and Greinke, Berit ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8838-2522, 2022, Book Section, WEAR: Wearable technologists engage with artists for responsible innovation: Analysis, insights, outcomes and impact In: Jefferies, Janice and Richmond, Vivienne, (eds.) Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of World Textiles. Bloomsbury Press, pp. 1-11. ISBN 978-1350264274 (In Press)

Abstract or Description:

In the first two decades of the 21st century, computing and e-textiles were increasingly used in couture and high street fashion to create wearable interfaces. In this rush to experiment many overlooked and often ignored the societal, environmental, and ethical implications of integrating data collection and processing into the fabric that makes the clothing we wear.

WEAR Sustain (wearsustain.eu) was a two-year EU funded Horizon 2020 Innovation Action project (2017-2019) that engaged art, design and creative industries in working with technologists and engineers to shift the design, development and manufacturing of the wearables and e-textiles towards more sustainable and ethical approaches. Through WEAR Sustain, 46 project teams were funded €50,000 for six months between April 2017 and December 2018 to develop their sustainable and ethical wearable or e-textile prototypes, towards market readiness within the rich European landscape of fashion and textiles. The projects ranged from engineering with more recyclable electronic textiles (e- textiles), to ethically sourced components for prototyping wearable technology, devices and products that aimed to improve wellbeing and personal health.

WEAR Sustain extended the European dialogue on wearables and e-textiles, while developing a vast online network, ecosystem, and resource bank for future innovators to learn from. The consortium, from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Bulgaria, examined participants’ submission for creating and funding wearable and e-textile projects and found that designers and artists prioritised social sustainability, environmental sustainability, and ethical labour practices, whereas engineers and technologists focused on economic sustainability. Researching our network, we found that prototyping was considered the most important stage of wearable and e-textile development, and securing follow- on funding was the biggest challenge for those working in the field. Another key challenge was the lack of information and resources available at the time, on issues ranging from possible business models to environmental, social, and economical impact, as well as lack of access to ethical data, and information about ethical labour practices when creating wearables and e-textiles.

The overall results of the project and its outcomes (among them a Sustainability Strategy Toolkit) are addressed elsewhere (Baker et al., 2018; Bryan-Kinns et al., 2018). This chapter provides an illustrative account of funded projects’ progress, with case studies to highlight key outcomes.

ContributorRanaivoson, Heritiana
ContributorSametinger, Florian
Subjects: Other > Technologies > J500 Materials Technology not otherwise specified
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W790 Crafts not elsewhere classified
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Communication
School of Design
Funders: European Commission
Uncontrolled Keywords: social sustainability; digital crafts; electronic textiles; wearable technology
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 16:10
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2023 12:49
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5412
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