202 – Nicholas De Monchaux – The Fashion Tech of Apollo Spacesuits

Spacesuits as a beacon of fashion technology, with the author of “Fashioning Apollo”…

Nicholas De Monchaux , author of “Fashioning Apollo” and Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media, joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez and Marc Raco in front of a live audience at WEAR Conference 2017 in San Francisco. Powered by Sennheiser.

The inside of a spacesuit, Playtex, and a technological mindset

De Monchaux describes how he conceived the book by considering the craziest domestic space imaginable — the inside of a spacesuit. He then wrote a book about the Apollo program and how the Apollo spacesuits were made by industrial division of the same company who made Playtex bras and girdles. The origins of Playtex, the genesis of the book ten years in the making, why it mattered, historical understanding of where technological mindset come from, designing a suit allowing the human body to operate in such a hostile environment. And insights from research, as an architect.

Mars, the many layers of an Apollo spacesuit, and upgrading the human body

A discussion of the next frontier for spacesuits, the trip to Mars, how American spacesuits were more practical than originally envisioned, how Russian spacesuits stacked up, dealing with pressure, the many layers of the Apollo spacesuit, radiation concerns, how by understanding technology as a cultural artifact we can understand how to model designs, and need to think about ideas wrapped up in designs and how they affect our work. Innovations that De Monchaux marvels at, high performance fashion, adapting to different circumstances, and how technology has changed how we operate in the world. Our need to upgrade our human systems with technology, how modern technology is taking cues from the body, and augmenting ourselves via a biological view of technology.

Star Wars, astronauts, and parsecs

“Off the Grid Questions” cover De Monchaux’s earliest memory of fashion made into forts and spaceships, a Star Wars moment and the incorrect use of the word ”Parsec”, quiet and peace, and getting to meet astronauts because they would visit their suits which were a part of them.

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