Billie Whitehouse: Why Wearable Tech Needs Good Design To Thrive [PSFK 2014]

PSFK talks to Wearable Experiment’s Art Director about the intersection occurring today between fashion and wearable technology.


PSFK is excited to have Billie Whitehouse, Art Director and Designer at Wearable Experiments (We:eX), as a speaker at PSFK CONFERENCE 2014. On April 11th, Billie will talk about how design principles must be used to integrate wearable technologies into our everyday lives. In the lead up to the event, we spoke with Billie about how fashion and technology fuse together, and what the wearable tech industry needs to be successful.

What is your definition of a “Fashion Technologist?”

A fashion technologist is the combination of a professional in fashion and technology. However, I think this is an extremely loose definition, and I am not sure that is how I would define myself. I think that fashion is so often related to trends, and this is not necessarily what we are trying to achieve. What I think is important is “GOOD DESIGN” or design that help us live well. When combining “good design” and technology, then the possibilities are endless. I would prefer a “design technologist;” this comes with the understanding of what makes good design good and how to practically use technology from a humanist perspective.

What are the human needs that you are trying to solve for with your current projects?

There are many basic human needs – we see connections and relationships as extremely important. The problems that we are trying to solve revolve around how to connect people with one another and with ourselves. Humans are the only creatures on the planet that can draw meanings and metaphors from their experiences. We are looking at how we can use technology to heighten those meaningful moments through multi sensory experiences.

What is the one thing that fashion can teach wearable tech and vice versa?

The one thing that the fashion industry can teach wearable tech is the respect for nostalgia; to reflect and respect what has come before you rather than just always looking for the last and newest thing. The fashion industry focuses on visuals, and it also uses basic design principles of line, shape, proportion, silhouette, tone, color and texture to design around a body to ensure comfort and elegance – many wearable devices have not yet addressed this properly.
The one thing that wearable technology can teach the fashion industry is about startup mentality. Just because the way the industry runs now works doesn’t mean that it should run like that forever. Startups look to revolutionize industries with new ways of thinking. Wearable tech companies like startups are nimble and able to evolve and grow as the technology rapidly improves.

What is the most important thing to understand about the future direction of the wearable tech business?

The most important thing to remember about the future business of wearable tech is that it needs to be intuitive and human. The more invisible the technology becomes, the more likely we are to adopt it. Humans do not want to look and feel like a computer. The technology is improving rapidly and what we were dealing with six months ago is vastly smaller today.

What will you be talking about (without giving away too much) at PSFK CONFERENCE 2014?

I will be speaking about how to use basic design principals to execute wearable devices to be chic, minimal and functional around a human figure.

Thanks, Billie!
Check out our conference page to see more of the innovative industry leaders who will be speaking at our event.
We hope to see you there! Click below to buy tickets:

 


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