It’s a little surprising to me how much I’ve been writing about fashion (or anti-fashion?) lately.
But I really do believe we’re going to see huge uptake around anti-surveillance fashion. Even this article on the inclusion of drones as pop-culture references brings fashion into the conversation.
The drone’s influence goes beyond symbolism. UK designer Adam Harvey is releasing a line of anti-surveillance jackets and hoodies that claim to interfere with the thermal imaging capabilities on UAVs and CCTV cameras. In line with Rothstein’s position on the drone as a metaphor for technological anxieties, Tim Maly writes that hoodies of all kinds are “an element of fashion driven by an architectural condition … a response to the constant presence of cameras overhead.” Asher Kohn takes that idea even further with his designs for an anti-drone city, reasoning that “Architecture is a way to protect people when law chooses not to.”
Which took me to the Stealth Wear site. I find their mission statement interesting:
Building off previous work with CV Dazzle, camouflage from face detection, Stealth Wear continues to explore the aesthetics of privacy and the potential for fashion to challenge authoritarian surveillance.
Presented by Primitive at Tank Magazine are a suite of new designs, made in collaboration with NYC fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield, that tackle some of the most pressing and sophisticated forms of surveillance today. The ready-to-wear countersurveillance solutions include a series of ‘Anti-Drone’ garments and the Off Pocket, an anti-phone accessory that allows you to instantly zero out your phone’s signal.
Collectively, Stealth Wear is a vision for fashion that addresses the rise of surveillance, the power of those who surveil, and the growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy.
In Privacy We Trust,
While I don’t think we’re heading towards a dystopian future where we all live in the shadows and I also don’t think that most people will want to actively avoid surveillance technology because they’re doing anything wrong, but if I’ve learned anything about teenagers and college students that’s universally true, it’s that they like feeling like they could do something bad, if they wanted to. And even if they don’t want to, they like the suggestion that they might be doing something bad.
And no, I don’t think any of these examples will see mainstream adoption but I do think we’ll see watered down (even if they’re ineffectual) versions of this.