a workshop at ACM TEI 2018 - Designing eTextiles for the Body: Shape, Volume & Motion

Call for Participation

Our clothing is not flat, but rather conforms and adapts to our bodies. In this hands-on workshop, participants will experiment and create 3D eTextile garments, while discussing the rich history, current state and possible future directions of wearables.

Through garment construction and rapid prototyping, we will explore how to integrate eTextiles into volumetric, tailored garments that better conform to the shape of the human body, and better respond to its movements. We will show examples of connectors and sensors, and discuss the affordances and limitations of various textiles.

A short masterclass will introduce a range of techniques for garment design and construction, ensuring the workshop is suitable for all skill levels. We will include a brief history of wearables and eTextiles, and an overview of recent innovations within HCI and fashion. We encourage people to bring existing projects and ideas, as well as their own materials and preferred microcontrollers.

See the full call:

On TEI website:

Call for Position Statements

The studio is open for anyone to join, but we have a limited number of possible participants. We encourage everyone interested in participating to briefly outline their experience with textiles, their research interests and how this workshop will connect to their own research. This will help us to tailor the workshop to the participants and ensure diversity in participant backgrounds.

Please send us an e-mail at gloves in Barcelona at Sonar+D

Last week team gloves visited Barcelona to present the gloves at Sonar+D. Chagall performed a full live set of her Stray Flux EP using only her gloves to manipulate her voice and sound and to trigger and loop samples and effects. Everything you hear is performed live. You can watch the recording of the livestream here at La Vanguardia's facebook page gloves are a wireless wearable technology which allow you to create, manipulate, record and play music using only your hands, changing the dynamic of electronic music from a physically introverted interaction with a computer to one which is more dynamically and expressively connected to the audience. It restores traditional elements of performance to modern electronica, fusing the future of music with essential elements that have made live performance a physically and emotionally engaged art form throughout history. Using a small portable router connected to a laptop running our Glover software and any program which reads MIDI or OSC, you can map any sound to any gesture or posture and manipulate it in real time in a 3D space. stands for 'me'/'my'/'midi' and 'music'. gloves are a completely programmable wearable gestural interface which give the user almost unlimited possibilities as to how they can map their own 3D space to create music through gesture and movement. They are currently made and released in limited runs from our London HQ above Rachel Freire Studio and we are steadily building an international user base as we develop the technology, exploring and mapping this exciting language of gesture.

Chagall's performance also debuted her new interactive visuals, controlled by the gloves. The code was written by's Glover author Adam Stark and art directed by the brilliant Eduardo Fitch. All Chagall's clothes for the live show and in the projections are by textile designer Rachel Freire. The team had an amazing time sharing our work, both live at the venue and the 60k and counting viewers of the livestream video. Huge thanks to Sonar+D for brilliant documentation and tech support and a really great show. Learn more about gloves here.

L-R Rachel Freire, Adam Stark, Chagall Van Den Berg, Eduardo Fitch  From sold out popstar arena tours to TED talks at CERN, exploring their potential to make music more accessible to those with disabilities, encouraging hackers to break down barriers in modern technology and developing the gloves for market in an ethical, affordable and transparent way, gloves are an infinitely fascinating project we want to share with as many people as possible. This summer we will be announcing a residency for those who want to get their hands in a pair of gloves and add to our growing community of users, makers and hackers.  Follow gloves on social media    TWITTER    |    FACEBOOK    |    INSTAGRAM    |    YOUTUBE

L-R Rachel Freire, Adam Stark, Chagall Van Den Berg, Eduardo Fitch

From sold out popstar arena tours to TED talks at CERN, exploring their potential to make music more accessible to those with disabilities, encouraging hackers to break down barriers in modern technology and developing the gloves for market in an ethical, affordable and transparent way, gloves are an infinitely fascinating project we want to share with as many people as possible. This summer we will be announcing a residency for those who want to get their hands in a pair of gloves and add to our growing community of users, makers and hackers.

Follow gloves on social media   TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   INSTAGRAM   |   YOUTUBE

Rachel is shortlisted for the Arts Foundation award for Materials Innovation

Rachel has been shortlisted for the Art Foundation 2016 award for Materials Innovation. Should she win, this funding would allow dedicated time to work on development of the e-textiles version of the gloves and the accompanying open source documentation. Keeping the gloves open sourced and working towards accessible technology in the future is a key aim of the project, so keep fingers crossed! The award will be announced on the 28th January at the 20th Century Theatre in London.

Read the full shortlist here:

Below images show the current design direction. Hannah Perner Wilson's initial woven e-textile glove (left) and Rachel's latest bonded e-textile glove (right). This experimental glove will be developed by Hannah and Rachel alongside the current high performance gloves which use bend sensors and are released in limited batches here. If you are interested in buying a pair, there is a small run being produced in the spring! We are also launching a residency program so follow us on social media or sign up to our newsletter for updates.

For more information on the gloves project: gloves dev blog:
Hannah's incredible glove flickr: eTextiles | V1  |  DIY  |  glove archive  | 
Rachel's manufacturing prototypes flickr: RachelFreireStudio

Follow us on social media:   FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM  |

leather fingerwaves for a Rebel Heart

Last month we received an exciting request for leather headpieces for the flapper finale of Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour. Commissioned by the brilliant Arianne Philips (costume designer of Hedwig and The Angry Inch and Tank Girl <3), we made an exclusive piece from the Concrete Roses collection. A fingerwave hairstyle which can be styled in under a minute is ideal for the military precision of dancers' quickchange. The particular design Arianne chose was not in the lookbook.. for some mysterious reason. It was clearly destined to be exclusive to the tour and will now be known as the Rebel Heart headband.

This original design sketch was featured in a 'first look' article on WWD alongside her formidable roster of designers.  Big love to Arianne for including us in her epic design!

Rachel and Rebecca were joined by the talented Christian Warren Landon and made twelve pieces by hand in East London: 6 in polished black and 6 in pearl white. The carved and moulded leather fingerwaves are made using only European veg tan leather, water, traditional swivel knives and bone folding tools - and infused with a lack of sleep, an excess of swearing and a noble quantity of vodka.

These sculptural pieces were never intended to be made en masse. Instead the collection was designed around super minimal use of materials and tools, with all the emphasis on craftsmanship and human touch. How viable this is in the modern world is questionable. It is fascinating how we as consumers perceive the value of ornate craftsmanship, and how this in turn influences design practice. The collection was originally presented with this in mind. It was offered bespoke from the atelier and no wholesale orders were taken. So making a dozen in quick succession to a tight deadline was a baptism by fire as the process is tiring and intense, even for us maniacal leatherworkers.

However, you don't say no to Arianne and Madge! ;) So thank you ladies. The result was a perfect commission: pushing the material - and ourselves - to the limit.



Last spring we designed the costumes for Karel Van Bellingen's debut movie The Leap. Rachel worked on the initial phase of design and locked in the costumes to commence shooting, then handed over to Rebecca who handled everything on set and designed for additional scenes. You can read the synopsis and watch the 30min film in full below. With 100k views and climbing on Vimeo, The Leap is a stunning testament to the talents of it's director, who is also responsible for the writing, production design and editing. Huge congratulations to Karel and the whole team for a truly stunning sci-fi film!


The Leap: In 2069, New Earth is declared open for civilian migration, a decade after its discovery. As tales of wonder and opportunity reach the Old World, taking ‘the leap’ becomes the dream of millions. Unable to afford the journey, many of the less fortunate risk their lives being smuggled aboard cargo ships. The inter-planetary Migration Administration, or IPMA, deals with human trafficking on a biblical scale. Fifteen years later, Jacob Reiss, a disillusioned IPMA veteran, has a fateful encounter with a young cartel prostitute. A meeting that forces him to confront a dark chapter from his past in order to save them both from a bleak future in one final, violent shot at redemption.

eTextiles summer camp and wearable prototyping accessories

eTextiles summer camp is a week-long gathering of expert practitioners in the fields of eTextiles and soft circuitry, founded by Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi of Kobakant. It is an wonderful place to share ideas, collaborate and prototype at Moulins de Palliard arts centre in rural france. There was an public exhibition of our pieces, workshops to teach techniques, focus groups to explore ideas in more depth, presentations to share and discuss findings and lots of home cooked food and local wine. A perfect summer holiday and a hotbed of future collaborations and inspiration.

I worked in the 'Make your Tech and Wear it' focus group and explored the aesthetic language of wearables and how this can/will affect our response to tech on the body. The image below is a pair of leather prototyping cuffs made using only textiles and soft circuitry (and - full disclosure - four sewing pins). The right cuff has an eTextile breadboard, power source and thermochromic coating to warn the wearer if a component is drawing too much power. The left cuff is a continuity tester with interchangeable output slots, a pouch to hold small components, and pin cushion. This is a working sketch for an idea to make a rapid prototyping kit which will be presented as a fashionable accessory. It also asks the question: would someone want wear it without knowing of it's inherent purpose and could this pique their interest in making/wearing tech?

The idea was inspired by Irene Posch and Hannah Perner-Wilson's 'Tools for Practitioners' project, developing the aesthetic aspect to pose questions. The final prototype will incorporate all the ideas from the pair of cuffs into one refined functional object and I will make a small run for people to wear and test. I would be fascinated for someone to want this accessory without knowing (or maybe even caring) of its purpose.

If you would like to follow the prototyping accessory project, purchase one of the test run or make your own, the patterns, techniques, circuit diagrams and materials will be compiled and posted on Hannah and Irene's tool website gloves are go!

This week we handed over the first batch of gloves to our collaborators, a selection of exciting individuals and groups working across the spectrum of music, performance and technology. These collaborators are our first users, and we set up 'Barncamp' in Imogen Heap's Barn so they could pick up their gloves in person, meet each other and attend a special program of workshops to learn about their gloves and start to make art. We were visited by the BBC, CNN, Wired and Dezeen so watch out for video updates on social media. We also had the most enviable xmas tree you can imagine. It is programmed to react to sound and provided a gorgeous backdrop to the collaborator presentations.

Nirvana: Les Etranges Formes du Plaisir

Two jumpsuits from AW10 collection 'future noir' are currently on display at MUDAC design museum in Lausanne, Switzerland in the exhibition Nirvana: Les Etranges Formes du Plaisir. Displayed alongside a host of amazing artists, photographers and designers, the jumpsuits will tour with the exhibition for the next 12 months.

Nirvana is the first comprehensive exploration of the influence of erotica in design, fashion and contemporary art. By turns cheeky, luxurious and mysterious, the exhibition presents the work of around one hundred contemporary creators who make use of an iconography connected with sensual pleasure, drawing inspiration from erotic and fetishist literature, and from the images, objects and garments to which they frequently refer. Visitors will discover objects of superior workmanship, many of them rare and inaccessible, made from materials associated with the world of luxury goods and craftsmanship.

The exhibition forces us to re-examine our own ideas and perceptions of pleasure, and shows how forms can be transmuted from the private to the public sphere. MUDAC

Rachel Freire AW10 (top L+R) by Diego Indraccolo. Flyer and exhibition photos © MUDAC