The WEAR (Wearable technologists Engage with Artists for Responsible Innovation) initiative is a H2020 call, consisting of a partnership between six European organizations.
WEAR Sustain fosters cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral collaboration through the co-design and co-development of ethical, critical and aesthetic wearable technologies and smart textiles. Their aim is to develop a framework within which future prototypes can be made, to become examples of what the next generation of wearables, and e-textiles, could or should be. The project will lead new approaches to design, production, manufacturing and business models to help entrepreneurs, stakeholders and citizens become more aware of the issues involved in making and using wearable technologies and demand better from technology companies, manufacturers, and governments.
Wearable technologies aimed at private consumers constitute a nascent market, expected to grow very fast. Their disruptive power is exemplified by the competition between established technology giants and start-ups. In particular, the development of the wearable market relies on its capacity to break down barriers between creative industries and digital technology companies.
WEAR Sustain is mapping the wearable technology and e-textiles ecosystem. The ETHICAL WEARABLES AND SMART/E-TEXTILES ECOSYSTEM identifies the ‘What, Who, Where, When, Why and How’ of wearable technologies and e-textiles, in terms of where components are sourced, experimentation, design, prototyping, and how they are tentatively transformed into new business models across Europe.
The WEAR Sustain ecosystem is designed to support cross-border and interdisciplinary collaboration, enabling industry players across Europe to connect. Members may access real-time and accurate insights, technology trends, news, and events, as well as innovations, research findings, design models and methods of adoption within the wearable technology and smart/e-textiles ecosystem.
Challenges & Goals
WEAR Sustain brings wearable technology stakeholders to work more closely with designers and artists across Europe to shift the development of the EU wearable industry, drawing on the rich European landscape of wearable technology and smart textile stakeholders, toward addressing the core critical, ethical, aesthetic and environmental issues head on within the research & development stages. To do so, WEAR's objectives are:
To encourage cross-border and cross-sector collaboration between artists, designers and technology developers through two thematic Open Calls;
To build a sustainable and structured dialogue and the organization of local and international networking events and symposia;
To set-up a pan-European WEAR Sustain ecosystem of stakeholders and local advocacy hubs, to connect and push the boundaries in the design and development of critical, ethical and aesthetic wearables;
To develop local hubs across Europe to become future advocacy centers for wearable technologies, with a mandate for ethical – critical – aesthetic development processes;
To create a Sustainability Strategy and Toolkit that will set the benchmark for ethical and sustainable technology development.
Using DataScouts to gain ecosystem intelligence of the WEAR Sustain ecosystem, allows WEAR Sustain to gain insights into the connections between designers, academia, hubs and technology providers, uncover the top locations for wearable technologies in Europe and to demonstrate how wearables technologies are spreading into different fields (e.g., art, ICT, fashion, interaction design).
DataScouts supports WEAR Sustain in aggregating data from multiple open sources and ecosystem members, to visualize and engage with the members of the ecosystem. Key ecosystem insights allow WEAR Sustain to support the continued development of wearable technologies and to bring wearable technology stakeholders to work more closely with designers and artists across Europe.