Fake Commissions for Inspiration?

October 25, 2017

We’re a tailor shop, we will make you anything you want. What do you want? This proposition is too open-ended. Nobody can think of what they want if we don’t provide examples, starting points, inspiration.

Web

Brainstorming

Today we brainstormed concrete ideas for our opening collection. The idea behind this collection is that we need examples that demonstrate what kinds of e-textile and wearable technologies are possible. But because these examples will have a huge impact on what kind of story we are telling, and what kinds of commissions we will end up illiciting, we are spending a lot of time on this.

Our Opening Collection

This collection is not at all intended to be like an “almost-ready-to-wear” set of samples from which customers simply say “I want this in blue”. They might say this, and this is a legit starting point, but then the process of actually tailoring the selected example to a concrete individual that would then ensue, would play out in many more changes than just “in blue”.

We plan to design a first collection of X pieces with the goal of communicating:
– What is possible in terms of concept/application/function
– What kinds of technology are we able to make
– What is our creative/aesthetic style

But more than showcasing what is possible, we want this collection to inspire people to think outside the box – beyond some of the common/obvious ideas that tend to come up as examples, such as: heated gloves, solar panel charging for phone, emergency help button in pocket, bike light jacket. These are not bad ideas, but there are so many more, and so many different ways of thinking about “what technology can do for you” that are more playful and personal. How to inspire these kinds of ideas?

Thinking Outside the Box

How to get people to think outside the box:

TIME MACHINE: Take people out of their reality, give them freedom to think without the constraints of what they think makes sense now. When they pass through the door of our shop they enter the future, it is 2027. What is life like in 10 years and what kinds of technology do we need then?

FAKE COMMISSIONS: Surprise people by questioning their assumptions. The example commissions on display in our shop are supposedly from people “just like you” – a grandmother next door, the young family who run the cafe across the street, the Berlin clubber, the moody teenager…. but what have these people commissioned? Not what you would have expected. The grandmother asked us to make her a TV B-gone cardigan, the stereotypically self-indulged teenager wanted a t-shirt that displays the number of children who have died every day from drug overdoses. The couple are working out their separation and would like a night light for their child that they can control remotely to provide a sense of presence.

SOMETHING USEFUL p-l-u-s SOMETHING ELSE: Your bike light jacket also displays the rent per square meter of your current location, your heated underwear also broadcast secret messages over Bluetooth, your X is also X….
Taking something obviously useful/functional as a starting point to take care of the ever-present concerns/preconception that technology must be foremost functional. Then adding the extra something on top, when the mind is free to relax and explore concepts beyond immediate utility gratification.

Brainstorming commissions

Related to this, over the last weeks, we’ve been discussing:
How do we story tell and what story do we care to tell?
Analyzing types of commissions in terms of their underlying technologies
Backcasting from where we want to be in one year