Archive for the ‘fashion’ Category

By Carolyne Zinko

If humans have been wearing shoes for at least 40,000 years, and modern styles for the past century, does a new line of women’s high heels really require space-age engineering to make them more fit for the foot?

Silicon Valley native Dolly Singh thinks so.

The former employee of Elon Musk’s Space X is aiming to send shock waves through the $40 billion-a-year shoe industry with her line of Thesis Couture stilettos. The high-performance heels have been created by a team of designers, engineers, doctors — and a rocket scientist and astronaut, no less — and promise to be more comfortable than other high heels on the market.

Singh was motivated by walking the shiny white floors of Space X in Los Angeles in heels for five years and realizing she had two choices: “I could wear uglier shoes, or wear pretty shoes and wind up with ugly deformed feet.”

The shoes, which initially will feature a 4-inch heel, are three years in the making. They’ve been built around an entirely new foot mold — or last, in footwear industry parlance — rather than designed around existing lasts used in mass manufacturing.

“In most cases, people take the existing architecture — the shank, the sole as it is — and they’ll try to add some cushion,” Singh said during a recent San Francisco visit. “They’ll add air pockets, they’ll do this or that. And those are all evolutionary, small improvements, whereas what we wanted to do was a revolutionary improvement.”

Armed with the new last, her team has used structural engineering principles to redistribute the load on the ball and toes of the feet, and space age plastics and rubber for the shoe’s frame and heel. Combined, the advances will offer better shock absorption and arch support. Most other high heeled shoes, in contrast, contain metal rods for strength.

The load on the ball of the foot is reduced from 80 percent to 50 percent, and the shoe’s platform reduces shock by 50 percent, Singh said. Arch support is hidden inside the frame, and the heel is cleverly designed to be larger, to provide stability, without appearing visually clunky.

“From a physics standpoint, high heels as they’re designed today are not at all thoughtful,” Singh said. “High heels are probably the only product you can find where there’s $40 billion a year of commerce, and where for almost a century no innovation has taken place. That’s insane.”

The line is scheduled to launch in March, with a debut style produced in a limited edition of 1,500 pairs, each pair numbered and signed, in much the same way Musk launched his Tesla Model S series.

The debut edition will be priced at $925, with daytime looks to follow at $350 a pair, evening looks at $600 or so, and red carpet styles at about $1,000 a pair.

In January, Thesis Couture will conduct trunk shows with a prototype in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco at which customers can try on the shoes and place orders for the debut collection. Trunk show dates have not been finalized.

The name Thesis Couture, by the way, derives from her belief that her thesis about the new shoe design is a defensible theory. Take that, Stone Age foot wraps.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/Former-Space-X-vet-seeks-to-disrupt-the-stiletto-6690389.php

A Japanese jeans maker has found a new way of capitalising on zoo animals. Zoo Jeans are producing jeans “designed by dangerous animals”. Denim is wrapped around tyres, which are then thrown to the lions who enjoy ripping and biting at the material. This produces that all-important designer, distressed look.

Rather than simply being a marketing gimic, there is actually value in this from an animal welfare perspective. Involving lions and the zoo’s other large carnivores in the activity is part of what’s called environmental enrichment. This is the provision of stimuli to help improve well-being. It’s a win-win activity for many zoos, who can make alternative profits from their animals, which tend to be used to provide extra facilities for them.

Wrapping denim around a tyre to make enrichment devices for toothy carnivores is just one way that zoos have profited from their animals’ hobbies over the years. Since their inception, zoos have looked for different ways to fund their activities. London Zoo when it first opened would let in penniless visitors for a cat or dog to be fed to the carnivores. Visitors with money were offered other things to keep themselves amused as they looked at the animals.

read more: http://theconversation.com/jeans-designed-by-lions-and-tigers-are-a-win-win-for-zoos-28988

hairy stocking
A hairy fashion accessory reportedly sold in China is said to be an unconventional tool to help ward off unwanted attention.

“Super sexy, summertime anti-pervert full-leg-of-hair stockings, essential for all young girls going out,” HappyZhangJiang posted on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging site.

The picture of what appears to be a woman wearing said hairy stockings has since gone viral, but it is unclear where exactly one can purchase the leggings.

Shanghai-based blog ChinaSMACK offered a series of other Sina Weibo posts about the tights, and one user said that emulating Sasquatch could have its drawbacks.

“This will not only prevent against perverts, it’ll definitely also result in preventing handsome guys from approaching you,” the user wrote.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/hairy-stocking-rage-girls-china-article-1.1375987#ixzz2WfVUGUxR

drone-proof-burqa
As debate over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the U.S. rages on, a fashion designer introduces clothing that blocks drone-mounted infrared cameras.

As the U.S. government draws up plans to use surveillance drones in domestic airspace, opposition to what many consider an unwarranted and significant invasion of privacy is mounting across the country, from rural Virginia to techopolis Seattle. Although officials debate anti-drone legislation at federal, state and local levels, one man is fighting back with high-tech apparel.

A New York City privacy advocate-turned-urban-guerilla fashion designer is selling garments designed to make their wearers invisible to infrared surveillance cameras, particularly those on drones. And although Adam Harvey admits that his three-item Stealth Wear line of scarves and capes is more of a political statement than a money-making venture, the science behind the fashion is quite sound.

“Fighting drones is not my full-time job, but it could be,” says Harvey, an instructor of physical computing at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and the creator of the CV Dazzle project, which seeks to develop makeup and hairstyles that camouflage people from face-recognition cameras and software.

Harvey’s newest medium, metalized fabric, has been around for more than 20 years. It holds in body heat that would burn bright for infrared cameras—a characteristic that could prove attractive to those who do not want unmanned aerial vehicles spying on them.

Metalized fabric
Metal is very good at absorbing and scattering infrared light, says Cheng Sun, a Northwestern University assistant professor of mechanical engineering. In that sense there is nothing exotic in how metalized fabric works—it “would strongly attenuate the [infrared] light,” he says. The metal would dissipate heat to surroundings as well, making the wearer harder to pinpoint.

To date, the fabric has primarily been used in tape and gaskets to protect electronics and communications equipment from static electricity and electromagnetic interference, according to Larry Creasy, director of technology for metalized fabric-maker Laird Technologies, based in Saint Louis.

Here’s how metalizing works, at least at Laird: Woven fabric, commonly nylon or polyester, is coated with a special catalyst—a precious metal Creasy declined to specify—that helps copper bind to the fiber. Once dry, the fabric is submerged in a copper sulfate–plating bath and dried. A nickel sulfamate bath follows to help the finished fabric withstand the elements and abrasions. The result is a flexible, breathable fabric that can be cut with ordinary tools but that protects against electromagnetic interference and masks infrared radiation, Creasy says. The process adds weight to the original fabric. An untreated square yard of nylon weighs about 42.5 grams. Treated, the same patch weighs more than 70 grams.

The fashion
Harvey’s fabric is coated with copper, nickel and silver, a combination that gives his scarves, head-and-shoulders cloak and thigh-length “burqa” a silvery and “luxurious” feel. The material blocks cell signals, as well, adding an element of risk to tweeting, texting and other mobile activities, as the wearer must break cover to communicate.

Stealth Wear is sold only via a U.K. Web site. The burqa goes for about $2,300, the “hoodie” is $481 and the scarf is $565—luxury items, but so, too, is privacy today, Harvey says.

The impetus
The high cost and limited availability are significant drawbacks—Harvey says he’s only sold one Stealth Wear item online, a scarf. But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts 10,000 commercial drones will ply domestic airspace by 2017—almost twice the that of the U.S. Air Force’s current fleet of unmanned aircraft. The number of drones flying in the U.S. today is hard to pin down because not every company and agency that gets FAA approval to fly a drone actually puts one in the air. In fact, 1,428 private-sector and government requests have been approved since 2007, according to the FAA. A Los Angeles Times report states that 327 of those permits are still active. Meanwhile, President Obama signed a law in February 2012 that gives the FAA until September 2015 to draw up rules that dictate how law enforcement, the military and other entities may use drones in U.S. airspace.

As of October 2012, 81 law agencies, universities, an Indian tribal agency and other entities had applied to the FAA to fly drones, according to documents released by the FAA to the Electronic Freedom Frontier following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Government entities as diverse as the U.S. Department of State and Otter Tail County, Minn., are among them.

Discomfort rising
Although Harvey’s anti-drone fashions are not currently flying off the shelves, he could soon find himself leading a seller’s market if recent events are any metric:

•The Charlottesville, Va., city council has passed a watered-down ordinance that asks the federal and commonwealth governments not to use drone-derived information in court. Proponents had sought to make the city drone-free (pdf).

•Virginia, Minnesota, Oregon, Montana, Arizona (pdf) and Idaho legislators are trying to at least regulate or even prohibit, drones in their skies.

•Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn returned the city’s two surveillance drones after a hostile public reception.

•A bipartisan pair of U.S. Representatives has introduced legislation to limit information-gathering by government-operated drones as well as prohibit weapons on law-enforcement and privately owned unmanned aerial vehicles.

Drone advocates defend the use of the technology as a surveillance tool. “We clearly need to do a better job of educating people about the domestic use of drones,” says Ben Gielow, government relations manager for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Gielow says U.S. voters must decide the acceptability of data collection from all sources, adding, “Ultimately, an unmanned aircraft is no different than gathering data from the GPS on your phone or from satellites.”

GPS does not use infrared cameras, however, and satellites are not at the center the current privacy debate brewing in Washington—factors that could make Harvey’s designs all the more fashionable.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=drone-proof-anti-infrared-apparel&page=2

Dress1

Dress2

A Netherlands-based fashion designer has created a high-tech dress line that turns clear when you get excited. How’s that for being transparent on a date?

Called Intimacy — from designer Daan Roosegaarde, founder of Studio Roosegaarde — the project aims to explore the relationship between technology and the body’s interactions. The dresses, which are called ‘Intimacy White’ and ‘Intimacy Black,’ are made out of opaque smart e-foils. When the body gets excited and the heart races, the coils turn clear.

The smart foils have a blend of wireless technology, LED lights, cooper and other materials. “Social interactions determine the garmentsʼ level of transparency, creating a sensual play of disclosure,” the company says on its site.

Although the concept isn’t entirely new — the company has been working on prototypes since 2010 — its new 2.0 line has been making its rounds online in advance of Valentine’s Day. The dresses are currently on display privately in Hong Kong and Paris and will be shown at Kent State University in Ohio in September.

Studio Roosegaarde also has other high-tech garments in mind: “We’re currently working on a suit for men which becomes transparent when they lie.”

http://mashable.com/2013/02/06/transparent-dress/

 

 

A 72-year-old Chinese man has become an internet sensation after his granddaughter used him as a cross-dressing model to promote her clothing store.

Lu Qing, who lives in southern China’s Guangdong province, posted pictures of her grandfather dressed in an array of pink skirts, red tights and fur-lined women’s jackets to promote her online fashion outlet Yuekou.

The images of Liu Xianping have since gone viral and seen him branded the “world’s coolest” grandfather by internet users for his slender legs and modelling poise. They have also boosted his granddaughter’s bottom line.

“Since the pictures came out, we’ve had a huge number of website visitors, and are selling five times as many clothes as before,” Lu said.

“Previously, we sometimes sold less than 10 items a day, and were feeling depressed about the business.”

Lu said her grandfather was “surprised” by the reaction to the photos and at least three other stores had asked him to pose for them, but he was unlikely to accept.

“He doesn’t see modelling as a way of making money, its just about having fun with his relatives,” she said, adding she hopes to use his services again.

Liu “had a young heart”, she said, and enjoys visits to parks and zoos, as well as playing games on his mobile phone. “He thinks bringing people’s attention to the elderly is great, so he’s been very happy recently.”

The Offbeat China website, which tracks internet developments in the country, said Liu’s modelling illustrates the transformation it has undergone.

“It is stories like this when one can get a sense of what a diversified society China has changed into in the past 40 years, especially for someone like Liu who has lived through one of the most rigid times in China’s history,” said a post on the site.

Liu, who has worked as a teacher and a farmer, did not need prompting to take up modelling, Lu said.

“My grandfather saw some new stock one day and thought some of the colours were pretty… he wasn’t embarrassed to model because we’re all very close to him,” she said, adding that his favourite item was a red women’s coat.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/crossdressing-grandfather-finds-internet-fame-20121126-2a24l.html#ixzz2DXGgpoYN