Meeting at the makerspace with fashion tech designer Anouk Wipprecht

(originally posted on Digicult – versione italiana sotto)

In “The Diamond Age, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer”, a cyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson, where a near-future world is revolutionised by nanotechnology, Constable – the protagonist’s adoptive father – asks her daughter Nell which path she wants to take: “conformity or rebellion?”. Nell’s goes: “Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded — they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.”

Somehow the path Anouk Wipprecht took in her life had to deal with some of the challenges which reminded me of Nell and, like her, she didn’t allow creativity to be sacrificed for conformity. Back in September I spent with Anouk a day wandering from location to location here in Milan, in order to meet all the appointments of her schedule and then perform at Meet the Media Guru, a series of events featuring international leaders in digital culture discussing a variety of topics from science to fashion and environment.

Her work as a fashion tech designer brings her all over the world, especially in the US, where a diverse range of companies like Intel, Samsung and Swarovski commissioned her installations and products mixing the futuristic aesthetics of digital fabrication design, with the most innovative components of wearable tech. Since she started working in this field 12 years ago, she’s been developing 37 projects mainly transforming dresses into interfaces: through the use of robotics and open hardware finally fashion starts talking to us.

During our conversation and her keynotes, it’s clear how for Anouk Wipprecht that fashion means mainly dealing with expressiveness and communication. Born in the Netherlands she studied fashion since age 14 even if her family, not having a wealthy background, would have preferred she’d chosen something more oriented to a “real job”, like being a lawyer or a doctor. In those days Anouk was into drawing and the act of sketching garments became a way to express herself and overcome her introvert attitude. Continue reading Meeting at the makerspace with fashion tech designer Anouk Wipprecht

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