InfoWear: Clothing as Visual Communication Medium | Jonathan Yaputra

InfoWear is a participatory-design research project which seeks to explore the potential for clothing to act as a socio-political medium that interrogates the emerging nature of personalized media environments.

Social media platforms, governed by online algorithms, have altered the context in which we currently receive information. The project proposes a system that allows participants to act as ‘publishers’ by bringing the content of their private media streams into public view, by incorporating them onto clothing. The resulting garments exist not only in a fashion context, but also act as a platform for civic engagement.

The conception of InfoWear as a research project comes from the focus of using wearables as an information medium. In this instance, pre-existing news content and fabricated individual textual content exist as the sole visual signifiers on the mediums that are T-shirts and canvas bags. There are three main counterparts that support the mechanism of the project: Medium of clothing, Involvement of individual participants and the Mechanism of Information Curation; all three viewed through a lens of criticality.

This research is deeply focused on the possible civic engagement that could come out of self-made clothing interventions in the street. The participants that the project is mostly interested in are individuals who are well versed in the language of social media and skew towards the younger millennial generation. It seeks to compare the behavior of engagement with information online and on the ‘street’. While it incorporates DIY clothing skills and fashion hacktivism knowledge, the focus of the research is on the news message of the clothing that the participants wear. Throughout the implementation of the research, a white t-shirt is often used for the workshops and trials. T-shirts have historically been used as a medium of political protest and individual expression through DIY art. In this instance, a singular color white merely emphasised the focus on the message on clothing and takes away possible additional pressure on the participants to gain new fashion knowledge to merely participate in the research. This method allows the garments created and worn to function as wearables more than they are items of clothing.

ABOUT JONATHAN YAPUTRA

Jonathan Yaputra is an art director and designer currently based in Vancouver. He previously worked on design and advertising projects in New York City and Jakarta for clients and firms such as Ogilvy, United Nations, Unilever, and Nestle. Previously earned a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Advertising, his Master of Design research in Emily Carr University focuses in developing visual interventions into the system of fashion that touches upon communication design, digital news landscape and the future of information media. 

He can be reached for workshop participation, multidisciplinary design collaborations and press at hello@jonathanyaputra.com