MARINA TOETERS, FASHION AND TECH
FIELD: DESIGN, TECH HOME: NETHERLANDS ZODIAC: CANCER
A. | How did you become interested in your field?
I had tried a collaboration in the field that didn´t work out and asked myself, what is making it so hard to combine the technology world and the fashion world so I decided to do a master's study in that topic. There are a lot of opportunities there and I am strongly believing in that collaborative world.
A. | How do you define your work?
That is very difficult. I try to merge my innovations as much as possible into every day wear. I hope that they don´t look that special, they don´t feel that special but then they act very special.
One of them is ¨Nazcalpaca,¨ which I did for a Peruvian company. We integrated monitoring systems into Alpaca clothing. http://www.by-wire.net/nazcalpaca-body-monitoring-alpaca-fashion-innovation/
( Other examples of her products are http://www.by-wire.net/sustainable-and-supportive-garments-for-nurses/ and http://www.by-wire.net/ilja-assimila-ss16-fashion-technology/ )
A. | Why do you think collaboration is so important?
Collaboration is a tool to make fashion much more relevant. It can make a product so much more advanced and then in my work that makes garments that take better take care of people.
What do you think of the future of your field? // What are the necessary skills to advance it?
There are so many prototypes waiting for us but we still need to find the balance of the complexity of the garment, how we can benefit from it and how we can communicate it ' those are the three skills that we have to bring it together.
A. | What inspires you?
The things that I am really curious about are what Ömsignal is doing. I am really following them because they are so advanced in both the technology level and how to communicate it on the marketing level. I think their collaboration with Ralph Lauren on body monitoring is really interesting because most of the brands focus on sports and Ralph Lauren is in fashion so I´m curious on what they come up with.
The product BlueTouch is really interesting too within the medical industry http://www.by-wire.net/philips-blue-touch/ I also really like the technology developments that Holst Centre is doing. They are really militarizing are their electronicswith foil-print-technique so they can be transferred onto textiles. It is more the enablers here that I am really excited about than the finalized products.
A. | What are some of your challenges or failures?
Of course, on every one that works there are already at least three that hadn´t worked. Right now we have garments for nurses and I think it is such a relevant topic and the nurses are really really happy with the posture sensing that we use in those garments and are really willing to wear it but now it is a legal issue and isn´t there yet. In hospitals if you buy something at least three parties need to offer it. This is so knew that there is only one source still and so hospitals cannot buy it.
A. | Are people skeptical of this field at all?
Yes absolutely. I have been working in this field for ore than nine years now and I see so much opportunity for fashion designers and always here the question even from them ´yeah but why do we need it?´ and of course we don´t need it we also don´t need very many things that are in the fashion industry as it currently is. And what about the sustainable isues: We need the change! We need to change fashion toward relevance in technology. Technology can help us in advancing and we need to change with it so fashion becomes relevant again.
A. | How is your work relevant to sustainability?
Fashion and technology has a lot of relevance to the health world. This also pushes the relevance away for people; I think ¨well being¨ is
etter because you have to take of your health all the time even when you´re not sick. There innovative fashion and wearable can help you a lot so that they support you in your every day life instead of only when it is too late that you need the health professionals to start healing you and caring for you. I think these products as a prevention of the health world is way better. This can be done by wearing fashion; supportive fashion.
These products are not necessarily sustainable because they are made with technology, however they can assist in making lives more sustainable long term and they last longer.
EDUCATION: Fashion Design, Utrecht School of Arts and Industrial Design Department, Eindhoven University of Technology.