It’s an invisibility cloak for your digital self. Vienna-based architectural design firm Coop Himmelblau has come up with a CHBL Jammer Coat that lets you disappear, sort of. Unlike wearable tech like Google Glass, meant to better connect you to the world, the Jammer Coat makes you utterly untrackable.
Created for curator Alessandro Guerriero’s “Abiti da lavoro” exhibit (“work clothes”) the “metallized” fabric blocks radio waves and tracking devices so you can be incognito–minus the giant black-and-white coat. (Caveat: No one can access your credit card info and your mobile devices, but that means neither can you.)
One goal of the fashion exhibit, which opens at Triennale di Milano design museum later this month, was to help promote the employment of disabled young people and draw attention to labor (and workplace) issues in the industry. Through the nonprofit Arkadia, disabled people–who are out of work–measure, cut, and sew patterns given to them by some of Guerriero’s 40 designers. Himmelblau designed and produced the Jammer Coat independent of the program. Triennale fashion department curator Eleonora Fiorani tells Co.Design that she was interested in presenting the exhibit because of the radical changes affecting how we work: “Jobs are running short, are uncertain and vanish, or become flexible and precarious or turn into new practices,” she said.
Guerriero’s exhibit nods not only to the lack of jobs available but to the way workers are employed. In an era in which labor abuses are routine in developing countries, and even in America (there’s an app for that), it’s an ironic jab. Because the other side of the industry is the burgeoning 3-D printing and wearable tech market.
Himmelblau co-founder, CEO, and design principal Wolf D. Prix has said that the coat’s wave circle pattern “gives an illusion of strange multiple body parts, which hides and frees the individual physicality.” The oversized poncho is about as shapeless as you get, though we like the dotted swirls of gray and black, which nod savvily to optical tricks.