Joanna Berzowska is Associate Dean of Research at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University in Montreal as well as Founder and Research Director of XS Labs, a research laboratory for electronic textiles and interactive apparel. She is the Director of Intelligent Textiles at Montreal's OMsignal, where she developed a collection of biometric clothing in collaboration with Ralph Lauren that measures and analyzes the signals of the human body. It looks for innovative materials and technologies as well as possible applications in this field, with a focus on innovative methods of creating electronic textiles and reactive clothing. She has worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has participated in numerous international conferences on electronic fabrics and their social, cultural, aesthetic and political implications. Her creations have been shown at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, NYC, Victoria & Albert Museum, Millenium Museum, Beijing, Siggraph Art Galleries, ISEA, Australian Museum in Sydney, and NTT ICC in Tokyo.

Future Fashion and Critical Materiality

New research in fibre technology, involving material science, electronics, biology, and organic chemistry will create future textiles capable of sensing your heartbeat, changing colour and shape, or otherwise interacting with your body and your environment. We are training the next generation of designers who will be able to harness the full potential of these interactive textiles to enable a fashion design revolution. Berzowska will outline current and future trends in electronic textiles and wearable technology, from the current emphasis on sports performance focused smart textiles, to future impacts for design, including fashion design, health and wellness, manufacturing infrastructure, and social innovation. Future textiles are predicated on a blend of material innovation and social innovation, meaning that they are ideally positioned to change the future of design, through (1) offering a new range of multi-disciplinary design professions, (2) revolutionizing material science and manufacturing industries, as well as (3) defining critical approaches to future “smart fashion,” which examine social, cultural, legal, and privacy concerns.