Armed with our initial vision of a base garment that could essentially play videos or images on its surface, let’s explore some of the challenges that need to be addressed before this could become reality.
Last time we talked about comfort as it pertains to the make and manufacture of the actual garment. This time, let’s discuss safety considerations of such a garment.
There are several areas of importance to consider with such a garment: first, of course, is the safety of the actual material used for the base garment; secondly is the safety of the circuitry; third is the safety of the power supply; and fourth is something which is often ignored by both apparel and accessories designers, the ergonomics of such a garment.
Let’s take these one at a time.
The actual material used, by its nature, will be very new to the industry. Since it is unclear if it will something like a flexible glass, or something like a giant OLED, it’s difficult to assess the precise nature of safety concerns, but some things will always remain a concern: does the material off-gas at any point in its development or wear cycle? By this we mean are any sort of noxious fumes released by the material?
We all know about the toxic side-effects of formaldehyde and other chemicals used in various ways in the apparel industry. We all also know how horrific a textile warehouse can smell from all of the other chemicals used in developing just the textiles alone (bleaches, aldehydes, and so on) most of which will give the user anything from a mild headache to an allergic response to, with enough exposure, various long-term health issues.
Any new material used in this way should definitely address some of these considerations, and be as inert as possible. Materials in the ware house are bad enough, with the build-up of fumes and other gaseous effluent, but covering a wearer’s body, and being exposed to the wearer’s skin presents even larger challenges to keep the wearer safe.
Beyond simple storage considerations, how would such a new material be handled, cut, constructed, packaged, and eventually, shown? What sort of health concerns might we need to have beyond the obvious ones of the material shattering easily: would this create splintering or particles which a worker would need special protective tools and garments to avoid being cut or injured?
And what about the wearer? Would a garment made from a ew base material capable of playing back images or videos be shatter-resistant? How would the wearer be protected from possible health considerations, and how would such a material be developed to ensure the wearer’s safety?
If it possible, even, to build safety features into the material, e.g., to provide it with micropore filtration devices, to filter out pollutants and harmful radiation like ultraviolet and other wavelengths?
A garment that would enable an increased level of health and safety for the wearer would provide an exceptional boon to the wearer, who could be both stylish and safe at the same time.
Next time, we’ll look at other safety considerations.