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Wear-Abouts / Illustrious North

Interactive learning materials at the intersection of illustration, fashion, education and outdoor

What if textiles and clothing motifs could speak and become learning materials? How can clothes, as a second skin and intimate interfaces, can help us to better (re)connect with nature? Through WEAR-ABOUTS - WILDFOODS theme we aim to explore this possibility by creating interactive solutions with ‘a deeper meaning’ that speak to young people, educators and families.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
Students basic
May 2024
It draws inspiration from the Nordic healthy diet and innovations in this sector as well as the culture of picking wild foods in the Nordic/Baltic countries, to help children and adults around them reconsider the content of their plates, origin, virtues of the products consumed, manufacturing/distribution chains and the usefulness of the direct link between the consumer and the source of products.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

More than a shift within the fashion sector, the meaning/attention we give to garments (2nd skin) could be radically transformed, giving more value and enhancing its educational abilities. Working in the fields of innovation/sustainable development, we believe it is essential to consider societal changes in a holistic way, notably through intersectoral approaches and interdisciplinary learning.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Wear-Abouts explores how garments (physical and digital), can propose an additional content to the clothes through the fabric’s motifs, which can be updated regularly. (See Implementation steps below).

The first Wear-Abouts x Baltic Sea prototype is addressing the WILDFOODS theme (nature and nurture).
It draws inspiration from the Nordic healthy diet and innovations in this sector as well as the widely spread culture of picking wild foods in the Nordic and Baltic countries (wild berries, innovative use of oat, clean air, pure water, hygiene, traceability, environmental issues and animal welfare). This theme has been chosen in order to help children and adults around them reconsider the content of their plates, the origin and virtues of the products consumed, the manufacturing and distribution chains for products as well as the usefulness of the direct link between the consumer and the source of the products, such as picking, cultivation or local supply.

How has it been spreading?

The project has been supported by EU COSME WORTH and Nordisk Kulturfond programs and benefited from creative sessions with young people/educators/families during the Helsinki Children's Design Week and with a kindergarten and primary schools in Helsinki. The project enabled the creation of operational prototypes and was presented during the Milan and Dutch Design Weeks.
The research project continues and addresses evolving forms of the initial prototypes, but also explores other approaches, in particular leading a reflection on virtual clothing but also the use of technologies such as virtual reality and haptic design.
It is also connected with the International Research Network IN2FROCC and Designing for Children's Rights D4CR association, Laetitia Barbu being an active member of both.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

There are several forms of collaboration:
- Use of the prototypes as they were developed (the prototypes exist physically as well as virtual 3D garments and can be used through a simple screen, without the physical garment)
- Adaptation of the prototypes for a specific framework/context
- Collaboration around the development of the prototypes, in particular tests with a specific audience/framework

Implementation steps

1 - Choose the physical or virtual garment
- The physical garment can be presented to an audience without being worn or worn by only one or few members of a group (a class, a family, an activity group, etc.) because it can also be read/scanned by members of the group who don't wear it
- The virtual 3D garment can be presented through a screen, manipulated and explored (read/scanned) in the same way as a physical garment
2 - Observe and read/scan patterns with a device
The physical motifs or motifs on the 3D virtual garment can be read/scanned with a smartphone or tablet by downloading our augmented reality application. New virtual elements are superimposed on the motifs of the piece of textile or clothing, providing new information.
3 - Indoor use options
For this next phase of exploration, there are several options to adapt to different contexts:
- (connected) allows you to click on the superimposed patterns (augmented reality) and access online information on our site as well as links to more content
- OR (disconnected) thanks to PDF files downloadable beforehand on our website
4 - Outdoor use options
- (connected) allowing you to use the garment in situ, in nature and to connect to apps allowing you to locate foraging areas in your region. This option requires a password and does not allow young people to use the application without supervision, for safety (oudoors and validation of edible plants)
- OR (disconnected) thanks to PDF sheets downloadable from our site which can be used also outdoors
> Teachers can also complete with own contributions related to their teaching program.
5 - A garment that can be updated and therefore used multiple times
As part of our work on the meaning of our relationship to clothing and motifs we propose updating augmented reality elements superimposed on clothing patterns. This allows us to offer new explorations and new information and updates on the topics covered.
If the physical garment no longer has any use for the user, it can be donated and we will transfer access to virtual and online content to the new owner.
6 - How can a prototype on the theme of the Nordic diet be used in other countries?
The theme of the Nordic diet, particularly linked to the cultures of these countries and still alive and practiced, is an ideal example to address this theme (which is why it was chosen).
However, this theme connects to universal sub-themes such as wildlife, clean water, foraging, cooking and infusions for example, which exist in many countries.
For non-Nordic people, we propose links to information and foraging apps around the world.

Spread of the innovation

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