Flanders-based designer start-up Jasna Rok is creating innovative fashion using smart plastics and smart textiles developed at the Center for Microsystems Technologies, an imec-associated lab. Their ‘Fashion on Brainwaves’ collection features garments that light up depending on the wearer’s mood and brain activity. Brainwaves are measured through neurological sensors in a headset, and are then transmitted to microcomputers on the surface of the fabric.
The state-of-the-art designs will prove useful in interpersonal interaction. Koen Kas, health futurologist at Ghent University, explains: “At first sight, the designs look like fun gadgets that stand out on a catwalk, but they can also create more empathy and understanding in complex relationships, for example, with autistic children.” Jasna Rokegem, founder of Jasna Rok, sees endless possibilities: “In the workplace, the technology will come in handy as well. Without having to say anything, your colleagues can see that you are very focused and that they shouldn’t bother you.” Rokegem believes that imec’s self-learning microchips will fuel the development of more innovative garments.
Jasna Rok has also started a partnership with Nokia Bell Labs. Together, they plan to explore the possibilities of tech fashion. Jasna Rokegem, founder of Jasna Rok, is excited: “Thanks to Flanders DC, the association for creative entrepreneurs in Flanders, I came across Nokia Bell Labs. Their vision aligned 100% with mine. I’m very eager to bring their ground-breaking research and vision to life through fashion.” Nokia Bell Labs creates ways for Jasna Rok to use technologies such as augmented and virtual reality in their clothes.
Innovative fashion technologies also enhance the garments’ durability. Together with Nanex, a Flanders-based nanotechnology company, Rokegem is developing a liquid-repellent fabric. Jasna Rokegem: “You could throw a bottle of wine over it without leaving stains. We want to create fabric you never have to wash, so that you have to buy fewer clothes. The fashion industry, not particularly known for its sustainable footprint, could become much more eco-friendly thanks to this technology.”