Working with STUDIO XO

Working with

Absolut teams up with Studio XO, a London-based fashion & technology company whose aim is to envision future ways of living with their wearable art.

Studio XO, a London-based fashion & technology company founded by Nancy Tilbury and Benjamin Males, is a fusion of fashion designers, engineers and material experts, whose aim is to envision future ways of living with their wearable art.

Their creations are the ultimate combination of technological wonders and fashion masterpieces, by transforming the performer's body, which takes their performance to the next level.

Notable pieces include the “Bubbelle” dress, designed by Philipes Probes, which changed color based on the wearer’s mood, and the “Volantis”, designed exclusively for Lady Gaga, took flight.

After the overwhelming success of Studio XO x Haus of Gaga collaboration, the team continued their presence in the music industry with highly sophisticated projects for artists such as Black Eyed Peas, Azealia Banks, and choreographer Wayne McGregor.

Up next, Studio XO will launch their latest project ‘XOB’ as a ready-to-wear fashion label using bio-technology in the form of digitized skin to bring science-fiction to the masses.

What if the weekend you was more than just some new clothes? What if you adopted a whole new personality. For the final Nights by Absolut launch event, we went down to Sao Paulo, Brazil and tested this idea out.

When did you first wanted to radically transform the human body with clothing?

During the mid nineties Nancy Tilbury our co-founder and CEO was studying fashion. She became restless about the speed at which technology was progressing and how antiquated the fashion and textile industry was. Whilst at the Royal College of Art she discovered the work of Sandy Pentlands wearable computing group at MIT and the scientific innovations of cyborg Steve Mann, the godfather of wearable tech. It was during this time she started to integrate computation, textiles and human interaction as an expression for fashion - a first in her field. This experience led Tilbury to run the wearables tech team at Philips electronics for over a decade with the mantra "can our clothes do more?". Similarly Benjamin Males our co-founder and CTO was obsessing about the grey space between art and science, design and technology. a mechanical engineer by training he was looking for an untouched technological territory, the body being the final frontier. As a super engineer Benjamin's quest is to create truly malleable, fluid and dynamic technologies for the future human.

Both Nancy and Benjamin are obsessed with the role of the body in the 21st and this is a start point in all they do.

What are you main sources of inspiration for such great positive energy and how do you keep reinventing yourselves?

We refer to ourselves as hunter gatherers, a critical mass. We love to forage for inspiration in places others may not be seeking to find information. We also love to subvert themes and bring together components of ideas as if mixing oil and water. By reinventing the creative palette we intend to shape a framework for our fashion lab in which we produce cutting edge design and technology and by stimulating media and methodologies we create a positive, collaborative spirit that is Studio XO.

What are the constraints for an outfit designed to perform onstage?

The stage adds a complex variable in our work, however we have mastered the art of adding bespoke, wearable features as fixtures to our artist's stage architecture. By touring and working relentlessly with our artists, stage designers and some of the worlds best stage technologists we create experiences which excite the fans and brings the artist back to the fore of the stage in what can be a visually saturated environment.

What is the craziest idea for an outfit you've ever had?

Nothing we do is crazy, as we're of the mindset if you can dream it you can do it, nothing is impossible! We have a Studio XO strap line - "making science fiction, science fact". However as part of our role as chief technologists for Haus of Gaga we invested the worlds first flying dress. A hex-12 drone on which we flew Lady Gaga into her own ARTPOP album launch to the excitement of the worlds media and her millions of little monsters.

Which collaboration are you the most proud of?

We are most proud of our latest work which we are yet to publish. We are currently developing a platform for the fashion and sportswear industry to integrate technology into their own product lines. We are also working on XOB and XOX: XOB is our ready-to-wear fashioned technoloies for generation digital, XOX is our emotional wearable technology platform which is at the cutting edge of sensing and sensitive mobile computing.

What are you working on with Absolut now?

We are currently working on "Absolut Light up the night" with the leading director Melina Matsoukas who is working at the fore of creative agency Prettybird who also represent Studio XO. We have joined forces to produce a series of wearable architectures which bounce laser lights in, on and around the body. Everything we are producing is wirelessly controlled from a central server which means that we can choreograph and synchronise the lasers to create a completely immersive experience. By controlling the laser garments we can create movement through the guests and focus to achieve big bang moments. Absolute are a brand who are focussed on creating memorable moments and together we will do something quite wonderful.

What are your next projects?

Most of the projects we work on in our lab are top secret as we work at the zeitgeist of fashion invention. However there's a lot going on with XOB and XOX behind the scenes and so look out for our products infiltrating wardrobes and dressing tables around the globe.

What are your thoughts on fashion as it relates to identity?

Fashion and identity go hand in hand: emotion is closely linked to ones fashion identify. Emotion is built into every piece we create at Studio XO, coupled with material science and technology, and a strong narrative is authored to express the power of identity through our digitally driven expressive.