Featured Speaker Interview: Anouk Wipprecht

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Featured Speaker Interview: Anouk Wipprecht

Anouk Wipprecht has taken the design world by storm recently with her fashion that incorporate robotics, sensors, and style.  Since we first met her in 2016 for FITC Amsterdam, she has been around the world creating everything from robotic flower pods to LEGO Mindstorms wings.  She'll be back with us in Toronto this April for FITC Toronto and we can't wait to hear what's trending in her fashion world.

Your work combines high end fashion concepts and technology - two worlds that are difficult to make an impression on. Do you find your work is making both sides seem more accessible to one another?

I like to combine multiple disciplines together, mix them up and create new dialogues with them. I blend fashion with interaction design and robotics, and fuse them with architecture and system behaviour.

Whether you are an architect, designer, maker or artist, you create things because you don't agree to the current status quo that your discipline has and trying to create something meaningful that in your eyes can lift up the field.

 

I did not agree with the current state of fashion design, so early 2000 I started to change that by creating interactive fashion. Fashion for me is about expression and communication, but the things we wear at the moment are 'analog' - putting electronics in our fashion opens up a whole new world of possibilities on how we can express and communicate ourselves, by technological means. Making fashion an interface into our worlds.

 

You put a lot of time and thought into the photography and art direction of your finished pieces, something that I imagine is carried over from the world of fashion and modelling. How important do you think it is that people put more thought into the presentation of their work to the world?

I guess fashion and especially 'couture' is about storytelling; the story the designer wants to tell is reflected in the collections. The medium to showcase these stories are explained through an catwalk experience (showcasing a collection on a catwalk), photoshoots (magazines, editorials), installations, clips etc. etc. with interactive fashion it only goes a level deeper - as with my designs interactions are not always visible on a picture. This is why I mostly capture my designs both on photo but also on video. In my case - the interactions defines the story, story needs to be captured in motion, good art direction on that material gives you a possibility to demonstrate that story in your own way.

The user is central to your creations, literally and functionally - do most of your pieces come from a personal need/desire or are you inspired by people and situations around you?

Mostly I tend to leave the body non-behavioral almost non reacting and let the technology do the work. This is for me as a critique on technology. Technology came once in our lives to help us but ended up overwhelming us instead. For me it's a story on how we can reconnect through technology that actually listened to the body.

Who are some of your design inspirations?

I take a lot of inspiration from nature; how things grow, how things flow, how things behave.

Biomimicry. Not only looking at how things look but also how certain animals react to one another, defend themselves or swarm. And put that attitude into my systems.

The Spider Dress for example - a Robotic Dress with Mechanic Spider legs on the shoulders equipped with proximity sensors: as you come close the mechanic limbs start to attack you, by means to protect the wearer.

Or my sensoric 'Smoke Dress' which is based on the defence mechanism of an octopus: once in danger the octopus pushes out an cloud of ink and disappears. The Smoke Dress has the same behaviour: the more people there are in her near environment, the more she puts out an smoke screen, covering the body in a thick layer of smoke.

The theme for FITC Toronto in 2017 is Step into the Light - can you tell us what this means to you?

 

I think showing of your feathers // what you have on your mind - and share it with the world,
FITC is a perfect stage for this, for us as speakers, - but I also invite the audience to think in
new ways that they would be able to translate their ideas into reality during 2017 I guess!


Find out more at

FITC Toronto // The Future of Innovation, Technology & Creativity
Hilton Toronto • April 23-25

Or on her website anoukwipprecht.nl