Haute couture usually makes you stand out, but Adam Harvey and Johanna Bloomfield imagine a future where it can help you hide.
The newest item designed by Harvey, an artist with a background in mechanical engineering, and Bloomfield, a fashion designer, is called OFF Pocket, a metallic-fiber pouch designed to block all wireless signals to your phone. Bloomfield calls it a “privacy accessory.” For the next month, it will sit alongside other examples of counter surveillance chic from Harvey’s company, PRVCM, in a “privacy gift shop” at New York’s New Museum.
Harvey and Bloomfield’s first collaborative project, Stealth Wear, a line of futuristic looking streetwear that shields the wearer from thermal imaging cameras, debuted this January at the fashion boutique Primitive London. Stealth Wear was more of a “provocation” than a consumer fashion line, Harvey says, designed to make people aware of how invasive thermal imaging could be, and the sort of counter-measures that would be required to block it.
And provoke it did. It’s received extensive coverage since its debut, including a very positive report in Army Times. “They used our sexiest photo from the lookbook,” says Harvey. Recently, he was approached by a U.S. official–Harvey wouldn’t say what agency the official represented–who wanted to use photos of Harvey’s work in a classified document; the official wouldn’t say what the document was about. “That was the impetus behind this installation,” says Harvey. “I want the work I’m doing to be as accessible as possible, so I thought, what better way to do it than to make a gift shop.”
OFF Pocket is their most mainstream product so far. At $100, it’s more affordable than the $450 scarf on display at the gift shop (rainbow colored on one side, in the pallet of a thermal image, and heat-signature-masking metallic nylon on the other). Nor is it so unusual looking that it would make you stand out on the street while hiding you from surveillance. “We really envision the OFF Pocket as one of the most commercially available products,” says Bloomfield, imagining future collaborations with stores and artists, like the limited edition silver OFF Pocket on sale at the New Museum…
[continues at Daily Beast]