Shoko Tamura on designing garments that amplify personal expression

The Keio University student says wearable technology could redefine the way people play in urban landscapes.

To the untrained eye, Shoko Tamura was wearing a normal jacket during her Global Graduates talk at this year's Design Indaba Conference. But as the Keio University student's talk revealed, her jacket was much more than that. Called Urban Play, the jacket is a form of wearable technology and it could redefine the way people play in urban landscapes.

So imagine if your jacket was battery-charged and could light up as you're walking in a dark area or during a powercut; or perhaps it even responds to sound.

For Tamura fashion has come a long way from the 60s when the miniskirt made its entrance. She made another example with high heels, saying that they do not have much functional value yet people love and continue to wear them despite the fact that they sometimes hurt. For Tamura and her colleagues at Keio SFC Mizuno Lab, fashion can do more than just serve an aesthetic value. 

"Technology can give garments the potential to not only enhance funtionality but to amplify personal expression as well," she says. The Urban Play jacket is a way of showing that clothes do not always have to remain static but can be dynamic and interact with urban spaces.

In an interview with Design Indaba following her talk, Tamura explained that they made three garments as part of the project. She says that their idea for the jacket was inspired by the announcement that Tokyo would be hosting the Olympics in 2020 and they wanted to find a way to enhance the experience for spectators.