Design Weeks Around the Globe

The Smart List is a monthly list of multi-media recommendations on everything design, curated by Interwoven Design. In this issue we share the Design Weeks Around the Globe that we are really looking forward to this fall. As any creative knows, you can’t generate output if you aren’t continually feeding yourself inspiration. In addition to helping us stay informed about art and design, going to the fantastic Design Weeks around the Globe is a great way to be influenced by international design culture and stay up to date with aesthetic and functional trends.

Designart Tokyo 2023

Tokyo, Japan

Designart, situated in the vibrant and culturally diverse city of Tokyo, stands as one of Japan’s premier art and design festivals. In its 7th year, this year’s theme, “Sparks – Freeing Your Thought,” invites visitors to explore groundbreaking creations that liberate their thinking, enabling them to embrace change and discover emerging societal trends. Acting as a dynamic platform, Designart Tokyo continually evolves to showcase a rich array of Japanese art and design to a global audience. The event unfolds over 10 days, running from October 20 to October 29, 2023.

via Designart

Design for Planet Festival: Collaborate

Norwich, United Kingdom

The Design for Planet Festival, now in its third edition, is an award-winning, free-of-charge event that rallies the design community to confront the climate crisis. Taking place from October 17 to October 18, 2023, at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom, this year’s festival features online workshops and panel discussions featuring some of the world’s most influential thinkers and talents in the design community, all centered on the theme of sustainability. “Collaborate” takes center stage this year, emphasizing the importance of cross-pollination not only within design but also among consumers, nature, AI, supply chains, and various disciplines from engineering to the performing arts as we strive to build a regenerative world.

via Design Council

Habitare: Together

Helsinki, Finland

Habitare, Finland’s premier furniture, design, and interior decoration event, is scheduled from September 13 to September 17, 2023. Designers Anna Pirkola and Kirsikka Simberg, partners at Studio Plenty, creatively manifest the theme, “Together,” this year’s focus centers on humanity’s desire for togetherness in today’s world, while also emphasizing the need to jointly care for nature and one another. Habitare 2023 doesn’t just highlight the challenges our world faces, such as pollution, inequality, biodiversity loss, and the climate crisis; it positions these issues as opportunities for positive change. The organizers encourage collective action, fostering unity through joy, empathy, purpose, and hope as we work towards a common goal during these challenging times.

via Habitare

Barcelona Design Week 2023: Design for Human Future

Barcelona, Spain

Created by the Barcelona Design Centre in 2006, Barcelona Design Week has a clear mission: to launch a global initiative that promotes the 17 sustainable goals outlined by the United Nations. Under the banner of “Designing for Human Future,” this event addresses the pressing need to navigate a world marked by uncertainty, complexity, and volatility. As we reach the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda launched in 2015, Barcelona Design Week seeks to provide a realistic assessment of what has been accomplished and what remains to be done. As a proud member of World Design Weeks, BDW advocates for the significance of design. The event is scheduled from October 16 to October 28, 2023, and is organized by the Barcelona Centre de Disseny in collaboration with the Barcelona City Council, FAD Fostering Arts and Design, and Museu del Disseny.

via Barcelona Design Week

And there you have it, Design Weeks Around the Globe! Follow us on Instagram for design news, multi-media recommendations, and to learn more about product design and development!

What is Design Thinking?

In our AMA (Ask Me Anything) series, industrial designer Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman answers questions about design and process from Instagram and LinkedIn. Rebeccah is the founder of Interwoven Design Group, a design consultancy that specializes in soft goods design and wearable technology. She has over 25 years of corporate design experience and has held positions as Design Director for Fila, Champion and Nike. She is the author of Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabrics, and speaks internationally on design, innovation and the future. In this issue she answers the question, what is Design Thinking?

Watch the vide or read the transcript below for Rebeccah’s explanation for what is design thinking.

What is Design Thinking?

You have probably been hearing the term “design thinking” and maybe even wondering exactly what it means.  Its a sexy phase – and one that a lot of people and companies are using.  But is it thinking like a design or is it something more.  

Basically, Design Thinking is a process that is very similar to the design process. It’s approaching a problem as a designer would. It’s used to solve problems by prioritizing the user’s or the customer’s needs.  It relies on observing, with empathy, how people interact with their environments, with the objects and tools they use,  and with each other. From these observations, you gain insights and then work in an iterative hands-on approach to create innovative solutions.  

The 4 stages of a Design Thinking process are clarify, ideate, develop and implement. Very much like a traditional design process. The observation part is critical to understanding the problem and identifying the opportunity for innovation. Here at Interwoven we specialize in wearable technology and soft goods. If you’re curious about what our work looks like, get in touch. You can follow us on our website or on our Instagram @interwoven_design.

Want to know more?

Do you have any questions about design? Let us know on social media! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for design news, multi-media recommendations, and to learn more about product design and development.

What is the difference between a mockup and a prototype?

In our AMA (Ask Me Anything) series, industrial designer Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman answers questions about design and process from Instagram and LinkedIn. Rebeccah is the founder of Interwoven Design Group, a design consultancy that specializes in soft goods design and wearable technology. She has over 25 years of corporate design experience and has held positions as Design Director for Fila, Champion and Nike. She is the author of Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabrics, and speaks internationally on design, innovation and the future. In this issue she answers the question, what is the difference between a mockup and a prototype?

Watch the vide or read the transcript below for Rebeccah’s explanation for what is the difference between a mockup and a prototype.

What is the difference between a mockup and a prototype?

A PROOF-OF-CONCEPT prototype effectively gets the point across, quickly. Here at Interwoven, we make fast 3D sketches of mock-ups to determine function, scale, user interaction and many other things – these works-like prototypes focus on how it works. At the same time we often work on Looks-like prototypes that focus on the appearance of the product.  As we refine the design, the mock-ups increase in fidelity until we are making functional and appearance models. The final prototype combines the best of both of these into a fully functional prototype.

We will start working in paper, chipboard, EVA foam, and muslin then as the design evolves we will start to move into CAD for the hard parts and patternmaking for the textiles. We can cut, bend, perforate, hem, stitch and tailor anything relating to fabrics and textiles.

The final prototype brings together the Look-like aesthetic model and the functional Works-like model into a single streamlined prototype that is both aesthetically pleasing and fully functional.And here at Interwoven we specialize in wearable technology and soft goods. If you’re curious about what our work looks like, get in touch. You can follow us on our website or on our Instagram @interwoven_design.

Want to know more?

Do you have any questions about design? Let us know on social media! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for design news, multi-media recommendations, and to learn more about product design and development.

How do we find the right materials for a design?

In our AMA (Ask Me Anything) series, industrial designer Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman answers questions about design and process from Instagram and LinkedIn. Rebeccah is the founder of Interwoven Design Group, a design consultancy that specializes in soft goods design and wearable technology. She has over 25 years of corporate design experience and has held positions as Design Director for Fila, Champion and Nike. She is the author of Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabrics, and speaks internationally on design, innovation and the future. In this issue she answers the question, how do we find the the right materials for a design?

Watch the vide or read the transcript below for Rebeccah’s explanation for how do we find the right materials for a design.

How do we find the the right materials for a design?

Traditional industrial and product designers understand the importance of selecting the right materials, such as plastics, resins, metals, foams and other rigid and semi-rigid materials for functionality, aesthetics, and ease of manufacturing. As soft goods designers we also take into consideration the textiles for each project.  It’s when combining rigid and semi-rigid materials with textiles to consider how they interact with each other. 

We have discovered that not many industrial designers or project managers realize that textiles have more variables to consider than most materials. Variables such as stretch, weave, stitch structure, chemistry, finishes, adhesives, melting points, dyes, elongation, recovery, pilling, crocking, yarn gauge, tensile strength, specialized equipment, yarn structure (and more!) that can affect the performance of a finished good.  As textile experts we can help select the best materials for each project.And here at Interwoven we specialize in wearable technology and soft goods. If you’re curious about what our work looks like, get in touch. You can follow us on our website or on our Instagram @interwoven_design.

Want to know more?

Do you have any questions about design? Let us know on social media! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for design news, multi-media recommendations, and to learn more about product design and development.

What are E-textiles?

What are E-textiles?

We love innovative technology at Interwoven Design, and when you are talking about wearable technology, one of the most innovative tools at our disposal are e-textiles. What are e-textiles? Well, it can be a bit confusing. We’ll explain what they are, what they aren’t, and why we love them in this Insight article. You can also check out our fantastic interview with LOOMIA e-textiles expert Maddy Maxey to learn more about why e-textiles are a powerful addition to your design toolkit. 

There is a lot of jargon around textiles and clothing with electronic components or capabilities, some of which is official industrial jargon and some of which is convenient non-official jargon that also serves to confuse. Wearable technology, e-textiles, smart textiles, smart clothing, active textiles, functional fabric…what is the difference? 

A working definition

E-textile is short for electronic textile. It’s one of those terms that doesn’t have a standard definition, so even within the industry you hear a range of meanings. The concept involves some combination of electronics and textiles, but there is a spectrum that ranges from combinations that are high on the electronic part and low on the textile part to those that are low on the electronic part and high on the textile part. 

This streetwear brand uses e-textiles to create luminescent garments and footwear. Image via Halo Streetwear.

Here is Textile Learner’s definition

“Electronic textiles, or simply e-textiles, are textiles with embedded electronics and some fiber materials possessing electrical characteristics and providing some useful functions. An electronic textile is a fabric that can conduct electricity. If it is combined with electronic components it can sense changes in its environment and respond by giving off light, sound or radio waves.”

Here is Science Direct’s definition:

“Electronic textiles (e-textiles) are textiles that are, or are part of, electronic components that create systems capable of sensing, heating, lighting or transmitting data.”

We like LOOMIA’s definition best: 

“An electronic textile (e-textile) is a circuit that is either constructed into a textile or created with the intention of being integrated into a textile.”

While they are all valid and reading them gets us closer to an understanding, we find LOOMIA’s the most flexible and useful as it helps us to understand the two main categories of e-textiles: laminated and embedded. Let’s look at that definition again: An e-textile is a circuit that is either constructed into a textile (embedded) or integrated into a textile (laminated). What is a circuit? A circuit is the complete path of an electric current; a series of electronic components that create a loop through which energy can flow. 

The Sound Shirt allows deaf users to feel music on their skin. Image via CuteCircuit.

Embedded e-textiles

Embedded e-textiles feature electronic components woven or knitted into fabric. Directly printing or embroidering a conductive circuit onto a textile also falls into the embedded category. This type of e-textile tends to look and feel more like a textile, and is more likely to be driven from textile engineering. 

Take the example of a vest woven with a blend of cotton and a heat-conductive fiber to keep the user warm. The heat-conductive fiber is a conductive fiber, and any fabric woven with it is also an e-textile. 

Because they must be integrated at the level of the fiber, yarn or into the weave, embedded e-textiles tend to be softer, more sleek, and more comfortable to wear against the body, which makes them the more popular of the two categories. That said, the small scale needed for embedding limits the strength and complexity of the electronic components the final e-textile can contain, and ultimately limits their energy output. 

Laminated e-textiles

In contrast, laminated e-textiles involve electronic components like circuits and sensors that are affixed to an existing textile. These may be sewn on, joined with adhesive, attached to another substrate which is then attached to the textile, or attached with any number of methods. Laminated e-textiles tend to be bulkier and less comfortable than embedded textiles, though the development of increasingly small electronic components means that the gap between embedded and laminated e-textiles is getting smaller every year, with the bulk of laminated options going down and the performance of embedded options going up. An example of a laminated e-textile is a medical gown with a sensor built in to monitor biodata.

In this example, heart monitoring technology has been integrated into a sports bra and an athletic top. Image via Sensoria.

What aren’t e-textiles?

Wearable technology is not synonymous with e-textile though an e-textile might be used to create a wearable technology product. Wearable technology refers to an entire wearable device, not to a component. The same goes for a piece of smart clothing, which might incorporate an e-textile but not constitute one. An active textile or functional fabric refers to a textile with a special performance function like moisture-wicking or thermal regulation, and has nothing to do with electronic integration at all.

The term smart textile may be used to refer to an e-textile but is a larger, broader category that may also include metallic textiles, wearable electronics, fabric with medical applications or fabrics that can respond to stimuli non-electronically, like color-changing textiles that respond to heat levels. Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, the principal designer at Interwoven Design, has written the book on the subject, Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabrics. She defines smart textiles as textiles that use our senses “as a way of gathering information from and about us by means of pressure, temperature, light, low-voltage current, moisture, and other stimuli…Smart textiles “learn” from our bodies and our environments, and react.”

In sum

An e-textile might look more electronic or it might look more textile-like depending on its intended purpose and whether it’s embedded or laminated. The creation of an e-textile might be driven by an electronics engineer, a textile engineer, or neither. Could you incorporate an e-textile into a future project? More and more e-textiles are popping up on the market each season as it is a growing industry and a space worth watching for those interested in innovation and technology.

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