Final Project: Iris+Olivia

10
May

Presenting the full Iris+Olivia collection was a lot of fun, and provided some very valuable feedback. It was also exciting to finally get to display all the pieces in one place, and to see how people reacted to all aspects of the line—branding, craftsmanship, concept and presentation alike.

The inspiration for this collection was my own curiosity about the interplay of technology and self-identity, and the resulting exploration of the interplay between identity, self-expression and technology was well-received. I also received good feedback on the concurrent focus on the idea of duality—between form and function, technology and fashion, hard and soft, and so on—adding an interesting dynamic to the collection.

Based on the feedback I received, I would love to continue to develop the brand to find ways to balance the identities of the extreme characters with the concept of unifying similar types of pieces across the two personas. It would be highly beneficial to have a way to group and identify items both by the character/line they’re under and their physical characteristics—for example, a piece could be in the Iris collection but also in a subgroup that spans both Iris and Olivia dedicated to bracelets with flash drives for clasps. I also want convert the mockups into an actual website to get these designs out in the world—I think it would be a great addition to the technology and fashion landscape, and would love to see how people outside of the department react to the pieces I created.

You can find the presentation slides and images of the display board below.

The Display Board.

Iris+Olivia Collection Display Board

Iris+Olivia Collection Display Board

Iris+Olivia Collection Display Board

To see the full evolution of this project, feel free to check out the entire Iris+Olivia category. And to read the paper I’ll be submitting to the International Symposium on Wearable Computers click here!

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
2
May

I’ve settled on a homepage for the proposed Iris+Olivia website, picture below. I’ll be designing detail pages for all the pieces as well, but wanted to post an update on the homepage now that the photography is my own and the duality is reflected more as I had intended.

Can’t wait to get the rest of the pages together, I’m really enjoying how this is coming together to form a plausible brand/collection.

Iris+Olivia Home Page Mockup

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
30
Apr

Since the branding is such an important part of this project, I’ve been working on getting a website mock-up put together. Here’s where I’m currently thinking for the homepage, using sample images pulled from the interwebs until I have a chance to have a photo shoot for the finished pieces. It misses the duality of the brand right now due to the images, but I think that once I get my own photos and play up the color differences it should be must clearer.

Iris+Olivia Home Page Mock-Up

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
26
Apr

Too busy again to talk too much about these new prototypes, but wanted to give a sneak peek at a couple of the pieces that I’m working on. The first item that shows stitching is the construction process of a bib necklace that’s in the works. The front of the necklace is full of hand-positioned silk rosettes and trim; the back will be microfiber cloth to clean your laptop screen (or glasses for that matter). The bracelet will simply have a USB drive as the clasp as part of that theme of pieces, but is constructed of studded trim cut into designs and fastened in place.

It’s looking like a good day for Iris!

The Bib Necklace.

Jewelry Prototype
Jewelry Prototype

The Bracelet.

Jewelry Prototype

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
20
Apr

After several weeks wrestling with the branding identity of my jewelry line, I have finally settled on Iris+Olivia. The pieces I have been developing for the Collection Formerly Known as Geek Couture had started diverging in aesthetic, so I wanted to create a space where pieces that are aesthetically very different could still feel part of a unified identity. The solution I arrived after having many conversations with friends and classmates (special thanks to Liza and Nathan in particular!) was to give the brand a dual-identity through creating two extreme characters. One would be the tough, chain-loving girl I’d originally envisioned as my key target audience, and the other would prefer much softer, more colorful pieces—both, however, would still unified by their love of and need for both tech accessories and the ability to express themselves through their fashion choices. Each side will have similar pieces, executed with very different materials and personalities, in order to show that this idea can translate to any aesthetic. (I felt it would make it easier to imagine the type of pieces I’m creating being used in any type of middle-ground style when it can be worked seamlessly into an ultra-feminine style as well as a super-tough and edgy style.)

To support this idea of contrasting/opposite characters, I wanted to find a way to express this opposition in the name itself, and wrestled with that for a while as well. Metaphors like angels and demons seemed too obvious and dramatic, and while a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde approach sounded fun, it didn’t fit the spirit of the collection to date. The turning point was a suggestion from my #1 advisor Liza to do something involving the ultimate digital nod to polar opposites: I/O. (For non-tech nerds, I/O stands for input/output, the fundamental relationship that drives all technology.) And thus Iris+Olivia was born, with Iris being the edgier, “sharper” of the two (both linguistically and aesthetically) and Olivia being the softer of the two (again both aesthetically and linguistically).

A few versions of the logo are below—I tried to make a relationship between the names (especially the I and the O) while giving them each a distinct personality through typographical treatment. I can’t wait to get going on the next batch of pieces now that I have the identities of their wearers so much clearer in my mind!

Logo Options

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
18
Apr

Don’t have much time to wax and wane on these ones, but wanted to put some images up of the most recent prototypes. These two are both working with the idea of the flash drive as a clasp replacement, giving the flash drive two functions (mass storage and essential component of the jewelry).

Pictures and description of both are below!

The Charm Bracelet.

This chain bracelet is riffing on the idea of a charm bracelet (like Italian charm bracelets) where the links can be added, removed, traded, and so on to create a bracelet or piece of jewelry of any length. At one link it fits as a double-finger ring—with more it becomes a bracelet, a wrap bracelet, and eventually a necklace. The interesting part of this design lies greatly in this idea of swapping data amongst friends, creating an all-new way for friends to interact. In an interesting way it melds together the tradition of making mix tapes/cds with fashion, an interaction that really tickles and intrigues me.

Jewelry Prototype

Jewelry Prototype

Jewelry Prototype

Jewelry Prototype

The Wrap Bracelet.

This red bracelet is a simple implementation where the flash drive is simply taking the place of the clasp of a wrap bracelet.

Jewelry Prototype

Jewelry Prototype

Jewelry Prototype

Jewelry Prototype

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
7
Apr

The group feedback session on Tuesday was really helpful for this project—my classmates were able to see my prototypes in person and had a lot of helpful advice. They gave me ideas and thoughts on potential pieces, and the direction they see it going—Nick was especially excited about pieces that incorporate old technological geek-fad artifacts (like the Casio Calculator Watch) into jewelry—and helped me refine my concept.

I had originally been thinking about this project as a way to carve out a space for women that are interested in the technology/geek/hacker culture, but am increasingly realizing that it is both not quite what I’m trying to do and also could bring in a lot of gender issues that have less to do with my project. Instead, we decided that the concept should deal more with simply providing people with a way to express their personal style through their electronic accessories instead of having to conform to the current state of “gadget” design. While not quite as “deep” as a more gender-leaning position might have been, it is much truer to the inspiration for the project and still completely relevant to many people.

An additional conversation with my mom (who holds a PhD in media psychology) helped refine the concept further. We came to the conclusion that it could actually do more than just give them a way to combine tech and style, and actually somewhat address the issues surrounding the digital divide. Having technology integrated seamlessly into parts of life that we are already familiar with and have positive feelings about reframes technology as a friendlier experience. Depending on the pieces I’m able to generate, it could actually work towards normalizing technology by turning a personal object into a piece of technology, blurring the lines between reality and technology.

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
31
Mar

The Concept.

What: Geek/Hacker Jewelry

Context/Problem: Female computer geeks/hackers are currently marginalized both in their own subculture and in more mainstream fashion culture—in many cases have to choose between enjoying the fun gadgets/nerdy accessories prevalent in that culture and their own personal sense of style and self-expression.

Content: I want to create a line of interactive/gadget-embracing jewelry that allows geek/hacker chicks to enjoy the functionality of all the same gadgets as their male counterparts without sacrificing self-expression.

Contribution: Pieces like flash drive pendants, headphones fully integrated into fashion necklaces and other interactive items would allow women to have a unique voice that straddles fashion, self-expression, and geek/hacker culture.

Inspiration.

“Why the Internet Freaked Out About the Lady Nerd on This Month’s Wired Cover”

Limor Fried of Adafruit Industries was on the cover of this month’s Wired magazine, causing people to freak out that they had “plasticized” her with egregious Photoshopping. She ultimately refuted that explaining that it happens to just be what she looks like dolled up with good lighting, but the fact that people freaked out about a female engineer being portrayed as attractive seems telling. Sure, it’s bad to totally change someone’s appearance for ratings in many people’s eyes. But why can’t intelligent women engineers also be attractive?

“The Anthropology of Hackers”

A look into the culture of “the hacker” and many of the misconceptions and stereotypes that have emerged over the years.

“12 Pieces of Geek Jewelry Perfect for Your Nerdalicious Guy or Gal”

An article featuring some amazing nerdy/geeky jewelry options. This one might be my personal favorite:

Rings

geeksugar

A community website under the motto “geek is chic”. You can find all sorts of fun geeky jewelry here (both computer and design!) and connect with other fellow fashionable geeks.

MP3 Player Earrings. Seriously.

MP3 Earrings

You’ll have to check out the article, it’s too cool/weird to summarize in a couple sentences.

Sketches.

Some potential jewelry ideas for the collection.

Sketches
Sketches

Initial Prototypes.

The first pieces are all me playing with variations on the idea of a USB Flash Drive necklace. I think all could be valid approaches depending on the design of the pendant itself—there would need to be more than one approach to accommodate different designs.

Slide-Out USB Pendant Necklace

Making an encore appearance from DT Outfitters’ spring line.

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Flip-Out Flash Drive Necklace

For beads whose shape affords a hollowed out back.

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Repurposed Normal Locket

This was just me repurposing a normal locket to fit a small USB flash drive. It actually works really well, but got me thinking about how I could maybe make it more specialized for the purpose.

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Panther Hidden Flash Drive Pendant

After giving it some thought after the preceding locket, I decided a good way to specialize it would be to make a space in which the flash drive fits perfectly, like one of those gun cases where the foam is cut out exactly in the shape of the gun. This one was especially fun because of an additional optical illusion—from the front it looks like the space behind the blingin’ face is hollow/empty, when really it’s concealing a flash drive.

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

QR Code Earrings

An investigation into whether or not I’d also want to do some pieces where it was just geeky in nature but not necessarily functional. These could potentially be a custom order, allowing the user to put their own messages into them. I’m not sure if I want to go this route, but it could maybe be another line under the “brand” that is more about externalizing fun geeky/coder references as opposed to concealing functionality. (Maybe two lines: “Inside Out” and “Outside In”?)

Geek Couture Prototype

Necklace Headphones

The most time intensive of the prototypes—I wanted to investigate incorporating jewelry with headphones. Video explanation is below.

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Geek Couture Prototype

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog
22
Mar

For my final project I would like to investigate the wearable technology space, specifically concentrating on jewelry. I am intrigued by the idea of joining the two worlds of jewelry (inherently a very personal space) with world of technology and electronics (traditionally a very homogenous space, filled with mass-produced gadgets and sleek interfaces devoid of overt quirkiness or personality). Electronics of course are not always sleek and minimalist; generally, however, if a product caters to anyone it leans toward the gadget-loving [often-male] consumer by making them look like futuristic robots or fast cars. Geeks can even show their pride by wearing a watch made of legos or an R2-D2 decorated Droid—but these types of quirky renditions of technology are still clunky and aimed at a similar market. Namely, the guys wearing [admittedly awesome] retro SNES t-shirts with some pretty awesome battle stories from the hours they’ve spent either coding or playing video games.

While I would never begrudge these fine gentlemen their programmable wristwatches, I want to embrace the group of people in the middle, stuck between the worlds of outright geekdom and fashion—she-geeks who want to wear their techy-love on their sleeve, but in a way that doesn’t compromise their personal sense of style. By modifying existing jewelry as well as constructing some custom pieces, I would love to make a collection of jewelry that elicits the same geeky squeal, but from an edgier perspective. Things like USB pendant necklaces and bracelets, or interactive necklaces and rings; items that aren’t necessarily made out of shiny plastic and blinking lights but which house the same fun gadgets guys get to carry around in their pockets. The bonus is that these pieces wouldn’t detract from the user’s overall image—they would actually carry their own weight as a tool for self-expression.

A potential element of the project would be a website for the jewelry line. I have yet to decide whether it would be more of an exercise in creating a culture around the feel of the jewelry through branding and user contribution, or whether it would be something more like a blog showing users how to create their own versions of the items I create (which could potentially then allow them to post their own projects). I have faith that further research will shed some light on the issue once I get the jewelry concepts off the ground.

Category : Final Project: Iris+Olivia | Major Studio: Interactivity | Spring 2011 | Blog