performance

stretch circuit eTextiles

Second Skin is a project inspired by the bonding research I am doing for mi.mu gloves. This takes the idea one step further, leading to experiments with stretch sensors instead of bend sensors (for the gloves) and exploring bonded stretch circuits using eTextiles and sports/dancewear fabrics. Using bonding processes usually seen in sportswear and lingerie, I have been applying this idea to stretch conductive textiles layered (and isolated) in sheer stretch materials.

Tutorial here, with a list of materials used:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Stretch-Circuit/

The aim is to create an entire garment with interchangeable panels. Using this technique, low profile stretch panels can be used in places where wires would usually be a problem. With the right connectors, a garment like this could be used as a rapid prototyping shell to test circuit configurations on the body.

Thank you to Adafruit for featuring it on #wearablewednesdays:
https://blog.adafruit.com/2016/08/31/how-to-make-a-practical-stretch-circuit-for-your-wearable-tech-wearablewednesday-wearabletech-rachelfreire/

mi.mu gloves in Barcelona at Sonar+D

Last week team mi.mu 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

Mi.mu 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. Mi.mu stands for 'me'/'my'/'midi' and 'music'. Mi.mu 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 mi.mu'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 mi.mu 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 mi.mu 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, mi.mu 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 mi.mu 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, mi.mu 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 mi.mu gloves on social media   TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   INSTAGRAM   |   YOUTUBE

the tempest

Incredible underwater photographer Zena Holloway recently got in touch with an enquiry about mermaids.. she was shooting dancers from the Birmingham Royal Ballet for their upcoming production of the Tempest. The brief was unconventional, abstract and neutral, maintaining the full outline of the dancers bodies. Rachel made cascading organza seaweed tendrils especially for the shoot, and also provided an existing mermaid corset (because who doesn't have one of those, right?).

It was such a pleasure to be involved in this wonderful shoot. The Images are exquisite!

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.

 

PEACHES - LIGHT IN PLACES feat. EMPRESS STAH

Peaches just released her new song 'Light in Places', a collaboration with the inimitable Empress Stah, written for her lazer butt plug show. Leather outfit and headpieces by Rachel Freire, bodysuit base by Claire Ashley. Face corset by Patrick Ian Hartley. It's amazing to work with such strong, brilliant, badass women. Watch Stah's performance, directed by Peaches, below:

BISHI feat. TONY BENN - Look The Other Way

It was wonderful to work with singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Bishi and her amazing creative team, styling this future-pop visual feast video. Bishi wears a whole Rachel Freire look in the first scene of the video, including a bespoke moulded leather corset, made the night before the shoot.

Released for the 2015 UK general election, Look The Other Way features socialist legend Tony Benn in a cautionary tale of harnessing anger and hope for a better world: