Meet The Designer Making Wearable Tech Feel Chic, Not Gimmicky

Meet The Designer Making Wearable Tech Feel Chic, Not Gimmicky

Designer Olya Petrova Jackson admits she’s always had a special kind of intimacy with her phone.

As a fashion school student at Parsons in New York, face-to-face conversations on her iPhone with her now husband was the main thing that kept their long-distance love alive.

The experience made Olya determined to find a way to make this often cold technology feel more tactile and intimate, reports The Cut.

After so many brands have swung (and often missed) at the wearable-tech trend, her AB [Screenwear] adaptation feels fresh.

“I think I come from a less technical place with technology. I’m really interested in code, but my understanding of technology is very physical,” says Olya, who unveiled her designs at New York Fashion Week for the first time.

While juggling day jobs at Ralph Lauren and Maiyet, she decided to start working on her own technology-oriented designs at night.

Olya’s Ab[Screenwear], features pieces like a jacket made of shiny dichroic polyurethane that reflects a whole spectrum of colours, its pockets so thin you can tap away at your phone or tablet through them.

A post shared by Ab[Screenwear] (@abscreenwear) on

Or a pair of mittens, fuzzy on one side, touchscreen-friendly on the other. For other pieces, the material is cut into tiny strips which are then woven by Tereza Barabash, an artist based in Lviv, Ukraine, whom the designer has been collaborating with.

The designer hopes “screenwear,” a name of her invention, will become a genre unto itself.

“There’s sportswear and womenswear, menswear,” she points out. With Ab[Screenwear], “I wanted to start this futurist speculation about what it would feel like if our body could incorporate screens in very organic ways, like an extension of the skin.”