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Biohacking: Frankestein or the Forefront of Fashion?

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

It’s amazing how quickly we take technological advances for granted and assimilate them into our daily life.

But how many of us relish the idea of an integrated device, sensor or microchip implanted under our skin? And to what end?

We ask: how can biology and technology influence fashion?

The Facts

Just what is biohacking? There is no simple answer but broadly there are three main categories:

  1. Transhumanists - They use and develop technology to take us beyond our natural human boundaries.

  2. Quantified selfers - They use technology to collect data about us.

  3. Grinders - They implant devices under the skin to improve our bodies.

Applications in Fashion

Certainly, when it comes to implanting microchips this has obvious advantages for those wanting to quickly and easily pay for goods and services. The consumer doesn’t have to remember hundreds of PINS and passwords because these are inserted into the chip.

Perhaps more palatable is payment tech embedded in jewellery or watches. But, although extremely convenient, how secure can that be?

The advantage of the biohacking approach is that it provides a technological fingerprint unique to the individual. It also offers a subtler statement of brand allegiance for high end clients not wishing to advertise their wealth. Or is that perhaps the point?

The downside however is that unscrupulous individuals might eventually be able to hack into this data so it would need to be tightly controlled and protected. It raises important questions of where such data should be stored, how it should be used and who should be allowed to see it.

Is the Future Already Here?

Microchips have been used in humans and animals for a while (pacemakers, tracking devices etc), but its applications to other industries are only now being fully explored.

Some conceptual designers are now stepping from the realm of wearable tech into the realm of wearable biology.

As Kawasaki told the Design Indaba Conference: “What if fashion designers could grow their own materials or material firms replaced bio laboratories?”

Fashion designer Victoria Geaney has done just that, collaborating with the University of Cambridge to create a bioluminescent dress, with bacterial colonies living and feeding off the fabrics used.

What do you think about biohacking? Do the possibilities scare or excite you? 

Email us your thoughts.

Image by Prayitno.


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