When Apparel and Body Become One – Designing for Direct Attachment to the Human Form

We constantly want more from our bodies. There are very large efforts to milk even more performance from ourselves and we’re increasingly turning to technology to do so. Up to this point, nearly everything we have to extend our body’s capabilities has been more or less mechanically fastened to us. Clothes are, for the most, draped upon us and sinched to fit. Items are tied, belted, buttoned or zipped to hold in place where we’d like them to be. Possibly the greatest invention recently was lycra, giving us a more or less custom and flexible fit, previously unavailable. Aside from that, we’re still essentially strapping our ‘armor’ on in the same manner as the Roman Legions have.

Along comes this concept from Frieke Severs: Footstickers

While this concept has it’s roots in the bare foot running sensation, the idea is that one would attach enhancements to the foot directly using adhesive rather than current shoe technology, providing:

“…better motion control, more feeling in your feet and direct floor contact, etc. In this way you are more grounded and more aware of your feet and movements. Its also a good training for stronger feet. But a disadvantage is the risk of injuries, you can easily twist or slip…The footsticker improves the activity and keeps the bare foot feeling!  The flexible material feels like a second skin. This footsticker gives you more grip, support and protection.”

I have to admit that I am jealous that I didn’t come up with such a great idea, but I think that this concept can be taken into any number of interesting directions. Think of all the things that use fasteners on the body that you could replace. If one could find a strong enough and perhaps reusable, bio-safe adhesive for footwear, then certainly you could adhere your watch, for example. Obviously this would lead to some pretty nifty things in the jewelry department. These are pretty easy ones to guess at, though.

If you really put on the thinking cap, you could postulate that such technology could be used to place a “belt” on your person that would adhere to you and at the same time keep your pants at the right spot all the time. Whole new undergarments could be had which would be as flexible as you are but connected at just the right spot for as long as necessary, regardless of your shape.  Going past fashion, think of the capabilities for work wear or atheletic wear.

It will be an interesting time if we adopt the technology of directly adhering things to ourselves. Plenty of design ‘doors’ open up at the thought. I think I would be safe in thinking that the very method of clothing design would change – and hopefully it won’t lead to the scary jumpsuit future of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is interesting to think of what else we might be able to use this tech for and what we might be able to affix to ourselves.

Perhaps in the future, we will be bejeweled with our items from media devices to clothing, stickered up things in a complex infrastructure that mirrors our own internal working and our psyche. Some of these things would be for our own health, like sensors to monitor body functions or perhaps even bracing to make up for failing body parts. There will be the underwiring of supports for activities that belts or bras used to perform, holding articles in place without the needs for buckles or snaps. Then there will come all of the vanity items. Shapes and devices to tuck, streamline, augment and bedazzle ourselves both under our attire and outside of it. These things will make the Bump-it look prehistoric.

All in all, we could be making ourselves into a version of the Army’s MOLLE system under our clothes.

Imagine what a person from the 1800’s would think of us? Aliens or gods to be sure.

One Reply to “When Apparel and Body Become One – Designing for Direct Attachment to the Human Form”

  1. Beautiful find and observation Eric. As a Product Designer this makes my head spin in so many good ways.



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