Byborre Elevate Wearable Tech
Cover Image: Kelly Hofer
The buzz around wearable technology has gathered speed over recent years driven by accessories like Fit Bit, Google Glass and the Apple Watch. In these cases, we can clearly see how technology and data is integrated into everyday life and how it can enhance decision making but when it comes to clothes the majority of people are still reserved about wires and sensors being woven into their jackets.
It takes a special kind of Innovator that is both tech and design savvy to elevate smart textiles and it seems we have found that in Borre Akkersdijk, who appears to be bridging the gap between wearable tech and design with his textile innovation studio Byborre.
Borre Akkersdijk & Byborre
Borre Akkersdijk asks the right questions. He sees the big picture and isn’t afraid to ask why textiles are being manufactured and consumed, or not consumed, the way they are. During a visit to a wool factory where textiles were made based on 10 – 30 stitches wide. Akkersdijk thought: ‘why not use the whole width?’ he started drawing, rewrote the programme and within 3 weeks had his first jacket.
Alongside his questioning nature Akkersdijk is taking a ‘generation based’ approach instead of a seasonal one. It seems obvious to cater to humans at differing ages and geographical locations (something Akkersdijk also does) but most Designers are still thinking seasonally.
Akkersdijk started his career in Industrial product design but later progressed into the realms of fashion. Studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven his love of textile, structure and technique developed and eventually saw him graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Collaboration is at the heart of everything Byborre does and with clients like Red Bull, Nike and newly acquired North Face Akkersdijk is definitely assembling the right teams to allow his experimental and progressive projects to grow globally.
Addressing questions like, ‘how does material move with the body’? in conjunction with the Dutch gymnastics team and then with Red Bull posing the question, ‘what would the implications be if clothing could show movement in the 3D digital space’?
The nature of these questions and collaborations ensure innovation can prosper and produce products that have integrity and purpose.
One such product and collaboration is ‘Tactile Dialogues’ which consists of a Pillow that allows Dementia suffers to communicate via vibration elements that react to touch.
Following on from that is the BB.suit, a onesie that has electrical threads woven into the fabric, enabling it to provide GPS, Wi-Fi and air-cleaning technologies - the BB.Suit uses cold plasma technology to create a bubble of clean air around the wearer.
Finally, when you look at the innovative materials coming out of studio Byborre the development of 3D knitting, textured yarns, triple layered knits and three threaded fleeces it is easy to see why high-profile brands want to collaborate.
Whether the mainstream consumer will appreciate this level of material innovation straight away remains to be seen.
The Future of Wearables
In the future selling a product will only be the start, with the possibility of post purchase data communication from consumers to makers we could learn how to better serve people through clothing which would encourage more people to buy items that have a purpose.
The only challenge left will be aesthetic and judging by what we’ve seen so far Byborre have that covered.