July 8, 2013

Stealth fashion provides more real-world privacy

Posted by: in North America

In an era when living publicly is becoming the default, we’re seeing the rise of creative ways to carve out private spaces, as we outline in one of our trends for 2013, Going Private in Public. While the privacy debate has centered around the online space, the advent of the Internet of Things, wearable technology like Google Glass and civilian drones is stirring interest in safeguarding privacy in the real world. (As we’ve noted, some venues are already banning Google Glass wearers.) Driven by this concept, some artists and fashion designers are creating garments with identity concealment in mind, as The New York Times recently reported.

New York-based designer Adam Harvey’s “Stealth Wear” show in London earlier this year aimed to “explore the aesthetics of privacy and the potential for fashion to challenge authoritarian surveillance.” His “Anti-Drone Wear” is made with a metallized fabric that is, aesthetically speaking, better suited for The Fifth Element than a casual stroll around town. The goal is to make it harder for thermal imaging cameras to pick up body heat, reducing the wearer’s chances of being identified. Harvey has also designed a handbag that flashes ultra-bright LED lights when it detects that a camera flash has fired, as well as hairstyle and makeup patterns that thwart facial recognition software.

With many people feeling betrayed by government and corporations following leaks about the PRISM program in the U.S. and a similar program in France, consumer anxiety around surveillance will only get more pronounced with new revelations and as the ability to monitor people gets more sophisticated. Watch for more everyday stealth fashion solutions to start coming to market.

Image credit: Adam Harvey

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