Something Old, Something New: An Interview with Wearable Tech Designer Joanne Hodge

Though there are some fabulous collections going down the runways during New York Fashion Week right now, sometimes in fashion, something old combined with something new can be just as intriguing as something never worn before.

Joanne Hodge, PhD Researcher at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at Dundee University of Dundee, Scotland, feels just this way.

“I like to find things that are imperfect (holes, rips, buttons missing, etc.) and turn them into something wonderful. There is something very poetic in turning something that was once loved, but has since been discarded, into something else that can be loved once more, all the while adding to the stories and wonder of the garment as it changes and evolves into something new,” Joanne says.

While working her masters (completed in 2009), she began to think about wearable technology and smart textiles as a possibility for study in the future because she has really enjoyed seeing how science and technology and fashion and textiles mesh, especially in terms of responsive and communicative clothing. Much of her inspiration has come from interactions with her friends and family, as well as from some of the wearables notables like Angel Chang, Joanna Berzowska, and Elena Corchero.

Past work includes cool integration of thermochromic inks, UV light, and fabric, such as this design, described as the “Multifunctional Bed Spread Top”. It was made from recycled white cotton bed sheets, Thermochromic ink, Photochromic ink, and some creative thinking. Not only does the wearer have the option of choosing which side to wear outwardly, to fold, belt or to button in different ways, but the garment will become unique to the wearer as well, because the inks react to warmth from touch, body heat, and UV light.

Joanne is currently working on developing research and design experiments in conjunction with her PhD, with a focus on what she calls “‘mindful’ remote communications”, and will be tweeting along the way. Follow her at @JoPrints for updates.

And look for her at the EAD Conference in Portugal in May, where she’ll be both presenting and exhibiting.

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