Design Futures: Eti-Kit

  • Fiona Fung
“ETI-KIT” was designed to provide solutions for maintaining privacy in public spaces, in the most polite way possible. It is a commercial brief for a design to augment the etiquette of London commuting, and speculates how we might create social distinction amongst uniformity in the future of transport.

London College of Fashion. Speculative Design. 2014.

Two wearable objects were designed to speculate a fictional future where people wear temporary items purchased in a public transport system vending machine for commute entertainment. These objects enable social communication in a private way, and are designed as coping mechanisms for people to deal with the tension between their public and private bodies in transient, overcrowded urban spaces.

Both items — one a pair of music headphones, the other a scarf — are culturally recognized and designated as identifiers of someone “shutting out” when worn, making strong statements of private space.

Meanwhile, these items are embedded with an opposing function — commercial screen display — that allows the user to publicly communicate their private identities by personally curating what is presented on these alienating objects. These wearables symbolize how we respond in relation to our personal-public spaces, and give the user room for imagination and “sharing” of things we like. The wearables allow for the transmission of information to those around us, including online friends, recurring fellow commuters, and strangers looking to “follow” you. Information dissemination becomes a part of fashion identity construction. Thus, the user regains control over their personal identity display. This new mode of “communication-sharing” through objects also allows for a third function, which is subliminal content advertising in, quite literally, the form of packaging material.