Monday, March 25, 2024

Gritty Urban Interactive Wear: Alarmed!


Does this woman look alarmed?

Well she is!

This fashion statement was inspired by a little gadget called "She's Birdie," a personal safety alarm (pull the ring out and you have a 130 decibel siren and a flashing strobe light). If you've read the news about Oakland, California lately you know that we are teetering on the brink of civil collapse and in a state of lawlessness that rivals those old Westerns we all grew up on. However, the weather is nice and I can't imagine living anywhere else. I decided on a whim to invest in this little budget safety alarm and while I have no idea whether or not it would actually deter a thief I figured it could easily become part of an ambulatory interactive piece.

The Birdie

The first step was converting a prime thrift store find: a gray linen jacket with wonderful pockets but lacking any front closure. I snipped some fabric out of the back side of one pocket (replacing the missing section with scrap fabric) and stitched plackets onto the top front of the jacket to support buttonholes for a pair of vintage buttons.

Jacket front 

The next step was creating a template for the back lettering. I chose Bookman Old Style Font at 188pt, and printed out the letters and punctuation I needed on one 8.5x11 sheet.

Bookman Old Style 188pt

The printed letters were used as a cutting pattern on crafting felt, and the felt letters were then stitched onto the back of the jacket.

Jacket back

Stitched felt letters

More stitched felt letters!

My hopes and dreams for this piece may be overly ambitious. I envision a conversation with one of the many strangers I encounter on my ramblings about town.

Them: You are alarmed? What are you alarmed about?

Me: No, no, this is not a philosophical or political or emotional statement - although I would say if you are not alarmed about the current global situation you would have to be brain dead. This is a simple statement of fact. I am literally alarmed!

I then wave the Birdie dangling from my neck and a good laugh is had by all. Sometimes I even imagine having this conversation with an armed mugger wearing a hoodie. We will see how it goes.

Heading out...

1 comment:

  1. I hope you have many interesting but not alarming conversations.


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