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The LED-Powered Dress That’s Disrupting Swedish Politics

Without a voice at Sweden’s premier political summit, a bunch of mischievous youth have partnered with a progressive agency to bring youth voices to the event–using a wearable display that shows their tweets.

The LED-Powered Dress That’s Disrupting Swedish Politics

If the country’s premier conference won’t let you in the door, what’s a social media-savvy generation of young Swedes to do? Wear their voice on their sleeve–with a sleek LED-powered dress streaming tweets from youth all over the country.

Since 1968, Almedalen Week has been a political summit on the island of Gotland, but what was once a forum filled with economic seminars has become a conference for the political, lobbyist, and celebrity elite, with over 17,000 people taking part in 1,800 events last year. As with most gatherings of the privileged, the group most excluded–and most eager for a voice–are the youth.

Crossing Boarders, an organization dedicated to helping create “an equal and inclusive society,” partnered with creative agency Deportivo and mobile provider Comviq to send a message through Almedalen Week’s closed doors. The resulting “Twitter Dress” streamed comments on gender equality, affordable housing for youth, and lowering the legal voting age, Deportivo’s Stephen Ronge told the Daily Dot.

Before the summit, Crossing Boarders sent 30 “ambassadors” out in the dress to raise awareness; during the summit, ambassadors roamed around with messages streaming over the dress from both tweets carrying the hashtag #Twitterklänning (“Twitter Dress”) and texts to a toll-free number. #Twitterklänning team reporters received a pledge from Minister of Equality Maria Arnholm for mandatory education on gender equality, and ambassadors stood in the background streaming tweets and texts during interviews with EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson and Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson, among others.

The project gained steam at the tail end of the conference. Crossing Boarders’s Ida Östensson, one of the #Twitterklänning project’s heads, wore the dress during interviews with Good Morning Almedalen and Aftonbladet web TV.

About the author

David Lumb is a tech writer who dabbled in the startup world and once did an investigative article on pizza.