Stealth Wear: New Designs for Countersurveillance
Building off previous work with CV Dazzle, camouflage from face detection, Stealth Wear continues to explore the aesthetics of privacy and the potential for fashion to challenge authoritarian surveillance.
Presented by Primitive at Tank Magazine are a suite of new designs that tackle some of the most pressing and sophisticated forms of surveillance today. The countersurveillance solutions include a series of ‘Anti-Drone’ garments and the Off Pocket™, an privacy accessory that allows you to instantly zero out your phone’s signal.
Collectively, Stealth Wear is a vision for fashion that addresses the rise of surveillance, the power of those who surveil, and the growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy.
In Privacy We Trust,
- Adam Harvey
- Presented by Primitive London / http://www.primitivelondon.co.uk/
- Hosted by TANK Magazine / http://tankmagazine.com/
- The New York Times: Stealth Wear Aims to Make a Tech Statement
- Washington Post: Government surveillance spurs Americans to fight back
- Wired: Anti-Drone Camouflage: What to Wear in Total Surveillance
- Spiegel Mode gegen Spionage: Hier kommt der Drohnen-Schutzanzug
- The World NYC Designers Create ‘Drone-Proof’ Clothing
- Where can I purchase items from Stealth Wear?
Items from the Stealth Wear collection can be purchased at the New Museum Store in NYC from Aug. 28 to Sept. 23, 2013: http://www.newmuseumstore.org/
- How did you start working on this project?
The idea behind Stealth Wear is a continuation of my experimental work in privacy, which started with the anti-paparazzi clutch in 2009 while studying at ITP at New York University and continuing through to CV Dazzle. Stealth Wear is the next iteration of combining fashion with privacy, exploring how fashion can provide ways to adapt to a surveillance environment.
- Why did you choose the hijab and burqa?
The rationale behind the hijab and burqa is that it provides a separation between ‘man and God’. Simiarly, the rationale behind the ‘Anti-Drone’ Burqa and Hijab are to provide a separation between ‘man and drone’.
- Why would anyone evade surveillance if they’re not doing anything wrong?
One of the best explanations for why we might want to evade surveillance comes from camouflage historian Roy Behrens who once said “from all appearances, deception has always been critical to daily survival—for human and non-human creatures alike—and, judging by its current ubiquity, there is no end in immediate sight”. Camouflage, then is a form of deception and decoration, a way for us to protect ourselves from unwanted observations as well as protect what’s important, privacy.
- Materials research and development carried out by Adam Harvey during Oct – Nov 2013
- ‘Anti-Drone’ Hijab, Burqa, Hoodie and T-Shirt modeled by Tate Ashley
- ‘Anti-Drone’ Hoodie also modeled by Sergio and Heidi Lee.
- Burqa and Hoodie designed by Adam Harvey and Johanna Bloomfield
- Makeup by Giana DeYoung
- With support from Primitive
- And thanks to the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, Justin Corcoran, Kathleen Scudder, Tank HQ, Head Hoods, and Nick Bates at Primitive.
- Special thanks to Aurelia Moser and Ronen V
- All garments and products are designed in New York City and manufactured in America.
Thermal-signature reduction fashion
The ‘Anti-Drone’ garments are designed with a metallized fabric that protects against thermal imaging surveillance, a technology used widely by UAVs/drones. The enhanced garments are lightweight, breathable, and safe to wear. They work by using highly metallized fibers to reflect heat, thereby masking the wearer’s thermal signature.
Of the three ‘Anti-Drone’ pieces, two are inspired by Muslim dress: the burqa and the scarf. Conceptually, these garments align themselves with the rationale behind the traditional hijab and burqa: to act as “the veil which separates man or the world from God,” replacing God with drone.
The third piece, the hoodie, is intended to thwart overhead thermal surveillance from drones.
All images © Adam Harvey 2013
An privacy accessory for mobile phones
As an alternative to switches that depend on the phone manufacturer’s software, the OFF Pocket™ is a physical switch that is software and carrier agnostic. It is flexible, water resistant, and blocks any and all incoming and outgoing phone signals. One size fits most phones from iPhone to Nexus.
The OFF Pocket project is now hosted at offpocket.com
Aestheticizing the bodyscan (well, almost)
Still under development, this garment is designed to protect the wearer from x-ray radiation and by decorative x-ray graffiti. The t-shirt is screen printed with a zinc oxide print that slightly attenuates x-ray signals, generating an x’d out graphic over the wearer’s heart. Preliminary x-ray tests show how this is achievable though this project will require further technical revisions before any XX item is available for sale.
I’m uncertain whether I will continue pursing this project at the moment because of changes to bodyscanning policies.