Fashion meets privacy: This gaudy clothing line can ‘hide’ wearers from surveillance cameras


LONDON — If privacy is more important to you than your fashion sense, this post (and clothing line) is for you. A new range of garish clothes claims to “hide” you from surveillance cameras. The knitted garments use tech-derived patterns to fool A.I. into thinking the wearer is an animal.

Italian fashion-tech startup Cap_able describes their Manifesto Collection as a “wearable algorithm to protect our identity.” It uses a technological system capable of transposing images (called adversarial patches) onto a knitted fabric that can be used to deceive so-called “people detectors” in real time.

Wearing an item in which an adversarial image is woven can protect the biometric data of a person’s face. The outcome is that either the individual will not be detectable, or will be associated with an incorrect category such as animals including dogs, zebras, or giraffes.

The garments have been released on sale at $311 for a T-shirt, with sweaters at $456 and jogging bottoms available for $302.

Man models a sweater from the Cap_able Manifesto Collection.

Cap_able says the goal of the Manifesto Collection is to raise awareness on the right to privacy and the protection of biometric data, which they believe an issue often underrepresented despite affecting the majority of citizens around the world.

“Choosing what to wear is the first act of communication we perform, every day. A choice that can be the vehicle of our values,” says Cap_able CEO Rachele Didero in a statement. “In a world where data is the new oil, Cap_able addresses the issue of privacy, opening the discussion on the importance of protecting against the misuse of biometric recognition cameras: a problem that has become increasingly present in our daily life, involving citizens from all over the world and which, if neglected, could freeze the rights of the individual including freedom of expression, association and free movement in public spaces.”

Until now, the adversarial patches have only been printed. The method that Cap_able has patented allows to incorporate the algorithm into the texture in order to ensure a perfect fit of the garments without losing their effectiveness and blending perfectly with the volumes of the body.

Cap_able Manifesto Collection models
Cap_able Manifesto Collection models

Cap_able claims the fabric has been tested with YOLO, the most common and fastest real-time object detection system. “Cap_able aims at changing the way people look at the clothes and accessories they wear by bringing a completely new and deeper attitude to the fashion industry,” adds co-founder Federica Busani. “Cap_able wants to find new solutions and new fields of application of the technology, to make people reflect on an urgent problem too often underestimated.”

Do you think the fashion industry will catch on to this privacy-protecting clothing line? Would you wear Cap_able’s clothes if you knew you could bypass cameras? Let us know in the comments section below!

Models wear the new Manifesto Collection clothing line by Cap_able
Models wear the new Manifesto Collection clothing line by Cap_able

South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.

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