Imagine if your closet contained a wardrobe that could not only change your mood but could also be used as a tool for fighting Alzheimer’s disease
. Sound far-fetched? So far, it is a promising concept that could be the fashion wave of the future . . . that is, if Jinny Tillotson has her way.
Dubbed Smart Second Skin apparel, these futuristic fashions would be wired to release aromatherapy fragrances that could enhance alertness, evoke memories, or increase calmness. Your entire sensory environment, and thus your mood, could be transformed by what you choose to wear each day. How scented clothing could alter your mind.
Jenny Tillotson is a senior research fellow in fashion and textile design at the University of the arts, London. While speaking at the Humanity + Transhumanism conference in New York, she detailed exactly how a scented wardrobe could deliver positive altered states of mind.
“Based on the sense of smell embedded in this clothing, I’m trying to redesign the future through smell,” Tillotson remarked. “Mood-enhancing effects can have an impact on behavior, learning; it’s a hot-wire to the brain. You could use it to train the nerves and brain to help you wake up in the morning, go to sleep at night, keep you alert in the office.”
How would these scented clothes work? Tillotson imagines clothing with tiny tubes in the lining of the garment that would be controlled by the wearer. At any given time a shirt or dress could release an invigorating scent, such as in the morning, and then emit relaxing fragrances when it’s time to decompress in the evenings. It could even be possible to connect these clothes to biometric sensors that could detect heart rate or stress levels. Then, during a stressful situation, the clothing would emit a relaxing scent or even record and remember scents reminiscent of happy times for later replication.
Even more incredible, clothing that could both receive and release fragrances would resemble insects, which communicate and traverse the world largely through smell. People could find or remember each other purely through how their wardrobe smells.Health impacts.
According to Tillotson, scented clothing could help elderly minds stay sharp. She states that smell encourages memory more so than any of our other senses. She also states that during the aging process the sense of smell is one of the first to go and actually increases the rate of dementia in the elderly
. Scent sensors and fragrance emission could be linked so that clothing could duplicate the smells associated with family members, favorite places or activities. Simply pumping up those fragrances could trigger memories in the elderly and help them to remember their way around or a forgotten name.
Tillotson’s idea for creating a scent wardrobe was born from her work with HIV-related charities. She noticed the “smell of death” had a negative effect on the moods of dying patients. By the same token, pleasant scents had a positive effect on mood and helped speed up recovery. From there she imagined clothing that would envelop patients with a cloud of mood-lifting fragrances.
As of now, the technology is in the conceptual stage. But as Tillotson continues to iron out the fundamentals of scented clothing, not only does the future start to smell rosier . . . but also there could be a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease