Q&A | Knit create an interactive shop display for Hiut Denim

Last month a shop front was set up to tell a unique company story. I got the chance to see the shop display and catch up with Jack Chalkley from Knit, the man behind the design.

The Hiut Denim Company was established to bring jean manufacturing back to the town of Cardigan after a major factory closed down. They sell at a number of outlets including Rivet and Hide- a place well known for their one-to-one service, jean fittings and excellent stock of denim.

When I visited in October, several pairs of ‘hacked’ Hiut Denim jeans hung in the window. On closer inspection it was apparent that cables were spilling from one central pair. They connected to branded graphics on the inside of the glass. Jack informed me that this is where the technology lies. “Everything hangs off the hanger inside the jeans- if I want to change the volume of the speaker I put my arm up the right leg! A more finished aesthetic would not be able to have such a rough internal system, but it worked for this.”

Jack used Arduino, MP3 shields, capacitive sensing pads and Electric Paint in his design. The back of the vinyl stencils were painted with Electric Paint to create sensors- registering a change of capacity when touched. Jack said the paint was “the only flexible and affordable solution to making a window touch responsive.”Within the given timeframe and budget, the paint made a great alternative to transparent capacitive stickers.

In a shop where even the metal hangers are hand made the paint’s aesthetic was also of importance: “It matched the materials aspect of both Rivet and Hide with their premium denim and Hiut with their focus on quality craft. The fact we also had a very handmade approach fitted nicely with that.”