ISSHO: An Intelligent Denim Jacket by Pauline van Dongen

In an accelerating world ISSHO encourages the wearer to be present in the moment. Providing subtle bodily sensations, this intelligent denim jacket exudes the sensation of a gentle stroke on the upper back. The design of Issho stems from a notion in which a collaboration between Studio Pauline van Dongen and ItalDenim resulted in a new line of thought within the domain of wearables. The Denim Jacket embraces denim’s characteristics to hold a unique dialogue with its wearer. Based on the wearer’s behaviour, the jacket responds to intimate touches to become a mediator of revived experiences in daily life. Through bodily sensations, this jacket encourages you to be present in an increasing accelerating world in which our mind is often focussed on future events.

During SXSW, the New Dutch Wave supported us by hosting a presentation about the jacket at their takeover house that set out to provide a platform for Dutch creative talent.

As I sat in the plane, returning home, ironically the small screen in front of me played a commercial of ‘KiloGear’ with the tagline ‘Fashion x Function’. Once again I was pointed to fashion’s ambiguous relation with functionality. Typically when I present a new design, people ask: ‘So, what does it do’. Yet answering that question does not give enough credit to the design. Besides that, hardly anyone ever asked me that question at the time when I was making designs that were not augmented by technology. So let us be more attentive of these subtle shifts in our thinking and instead try to be more consequent in our questioning and reasoning. Therefor this time, when presenting Issho, I proposed something else: Let’s replace “what does it do” by “What does it incite us to do?”. Because that way we will come to understand not just what a product is meant to do, but it will also reveal how it changes our behavior and perspective and may engage us in doing so.”

Thank you for reading!

– Pauline.

Photography: Sharon Jane D
MUAH: Angelique Stapelbroek


“With Issho we intend to open up the scope, to move away from focussing on quantifiable data and look at the way technology impacts and shapes the relationship between humans and the world in a rather soft and embodied manner.” — Pauline van Dongen


This project is realised thanks to the invaluable support of the Creative Industries Fund and came to life with the support of Isabel Berentzen.




The great thing about SXSW is that wherever you go, you’ll always find something inspiring, surprising or simply entertaining. This year it was mostly women designers and entrepreneurs that I ran into, whose vision, energy and devotion immediately struck me. To name a few: Nina Walia, an inspiring designer at Google Jacquard, who gave me a great tour at the Levis Outpost, Gillian Morris, who became a leader in the travel industry with her company Hitlist and the talented Sarah McBriar who founded AVA Festival, which presents artists like Jeff Mills, Marcel Dettmann and has a forward thinking approach when it comes to cross-overs between music and art.

P.S. Did you know that Pauline’s LinkedIn page regularly features a new series of videos entitled #PAULINEVANDONGENTALKS? Keep up with us for special insights in which Pauline and her team reveal the magic (and challenges) behind fashioning wearables.


Making Waves at South by Southwest


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