Design Inspiration, or, “Not so Smitten with Mitt in the Mitten”

I have a confession to make: You Tube. I love You Tube. It’s my ultimate time sink. It’s where I go when I want some inspiration and I’m too lazy to go out ‘into the marketplace’ or otherwise get out of my chair. As pop culture addictions come and go it’s slightly more useful than I can Haz Cheezburger (better perhaps since I can go watch Simon’s Cat).

However, lately, a Very Bad Thing has happened. I stupidly Googled Mitt Romney and visited the Wiki page about  him. Now Google has decided that I am a Screaming Right Wingnut Republican, and it’s suddenly presenting me with all of these horrific Republican Paid Political Announcements that are RIGHT ON TOP of my actual things I want to see.

I noticed this first when my 1,576th viewing of Psy’s Gangnam Style was overlaid with some red-white-and-blue cheezmo and Mitt’s ugly mug. Now at the best of times, I’m not enamored with politicians. They are liars who pander to the lowest common denominator of stupid. And that includes all stripes of stupid from Left to Right*. In general I try to ignore them, this being one case where ignorance is largely bliss. But when my personal procrastination inspiration is being messed with by ads for some cultist politico whack-a-doodle, well, this calls for action**.

Therefore, I present to you the “Not-So-Smitten-With-Mitt-In-The-Mitten” mini-textile collection, available for purchase on Spoonflower.

Let me explain this collection of TWO fine high quality prints.

First, Mitt’s head was superimposed on a rat head. My brief visit to Wiki told me that Mitt was actually named WILLARD (remember that horrid 1970s RAT movie?) Mitt Romney. But as any sensible human would, he opted to not be called by Willard (!) but instead by his middle name, Mitt. I was unclear why his family would call him ‘mitt’ unless they were following the typical Republican habit of naming their kids after the place where they were conceived or if they were naming him after a garment or object.  So it’s conceivable he was named Mitt because he was born in Michigan, the Mitten state and Mitt is short for Mitten***.

Running with that idea, I stuck Mitt’s now rat-head into a mitten. And then recolored the mitten with the red-white-blue electioneering cheezmo. The Mitt-in-Mitten was then scattered with gay abandon to create a true scatter print. Print #2 include the year 2012 in sort of honor of either the election year or the year we all went to hell in a handbasket/got Raptured. Your choice of interpretation.

So share your anti-Paid-Political-Announcement bias and go get yourself a yard or so of these fine, high quality Anti-Paid-Political-Announcements textiles and whip those suckers up into some fine high-quality electioneering ties. Yes, these prints are satire, but then, show me a politician (who you aren’t sleeping with and/or being bribed by) who isn’t satirically making a mockery of America, much less my right to watch Psy horse-ride-dance into posterity on YouTube.

Oh, yes, this is ‘how I get my inspiration’ in design (Shenlei, how did you come up with that design idea?)

* I know there are some intelligent/educated republicans. Condoleeza Rice, for starters. If they did a good video of Condie in black leather or latex in a sort of 9 Inch Nails kind of meme dominating the white/male House/Congress/World, it would definitely go into the ‘inspiration’ bookmarks.

**This is for ALL paid-political-announcements. All politicians suck. I’d be equally pissed if I had to wade through Democratic flag-waving on my Barbie Girl viewing. Although if they managed a Condeleeza-as-dominatrix-kicking-congressional-man-ass-while-yanking-their-leashes ad I would have to watch it. Some things are just…inspirational.

***Mitt should be really glad he wasn’t born in Texas (the longhorn state.) ‘Longhorn‘ is a lot for an old wrinkled white guy to live up to. Although if he had been named Longhorn and they showed evidence that might be inspirational. But I’m not entirely sure about that. It might have been barf-bag-design-inspiring.

****Saying, is all. Irritate me with your Paid Political Advertorials, end up satirized as a commercial product your neighbor could buy and make dog kerchiefs out of and walk them all over your neighborhood.

Something Completely Visionary: Fashion, Tech, Innovation, Part 5

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.