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About Despina papadopoulos

Despina Papadopoulos is a designer, strategist and researcher and the founder of Principled Design. Her pioneering work in wearable technologies asks important questions about intimacy, desire and gesture. Her ability to seamlessly move from theory to practice, and her insistence on embodying ideas has enabled her to engineer unique solutions both in her own practice and for industry.

Her work is focused on finding the human edge of emerging technologies and imagining ways to make technology make sense to humans instead of making humans make sense to technology. She brings strategy, design and technology together in cohesive and actionable ways, translating objectives and process and ensuring buy-in for all stakeholders.

Part engineer, part artist and part philosopher, she can create a system’s map in her head and anticipate project needs. Her approach is deeply collaborative, a keystone of which is finding ways to articulate vision and mission and circulate it across organizational silos, fostering innovation by placing equal emphasis on ideas and action. By empowering teams to prototype and give a material vehicle to ideas, she is able to test ideas early and generate insights in a modular and agile manner.

Ultimately, her work is about communication and the way we tacitly interact with artifacts. In pursuing this exploration she makes her own award-winning artifacts that aim to elicit slightly altered perceptions and expand the limits of what technology can do and be. In making new products she imagines herself as an anthropologist of the future, observing emergent material cultures while always looking back and absorbing the past into things to come.

Despina is currently working on The Unruliness of Matter, turning the conceptual and the abstract into the tangible and sensory, as part of her practice-led research PhD at the School of Arts and Humanities, under the supervision of Professor Johnny Golding, Head of Radical Matter proto-Centre and Zowie Broach, Head of Fashion at the Royal College of Art, on a TECHNE Fellowship from the National Productivity and Innovation Fund in the UK.


From Thinking to Making: Weaving Technology in Everyday Life – TEDxVilnius

The Unruliness of Matter – Designing | Engineering the Future

The Ethics of Wearables and the Qualified Self – Wearable Futures

  1. Haptics, Tactile Systems and the Future of Responsive Surfaces, AFFOA (Advanced Functional Fabrics of America), June 12, 2022
  2. The Unruliness of Matter, keynote speaker, Design Meets Technology, Jerusalem, June 13, 2019
  3. Artificial Intelligence and Material Innovation, keynote speaker, Re:Think Materials, Amsterdam, November 7, 2018
  4. Embodied Interaction: Ethics and Shaping Connections, invited speaker, Wear-It, Berlin, June 29, 2018
  5. Experiments in e-textiles, invited speaker, Wearable US, IDTechEx, Santa Clara, November 15, 2017
  6. Connecting the Dots: Open Innovation and e-textile Interconnects, invited speaker, Wearable 2017, San Francisco, June 14, 2017
  7. What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Climate Change? workshop, Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione, Milan, March 2017
  8. Design and Materiality Across Practices lecture, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, March 2017
  9. Innovations for the Future invited speaker, USA Sourcing Summit, Cotton Council International and Cotton Inc., Nov. 11, 2016
  10. From Thinking to Making: Weaving Technology in Everyday Life TEDx, Vilnius, April 2, 2016
  11. Smart Fabrics Summit organized by the US Chamber of commerce, panelist, Washington DC, April 11, 2016
  12. Wearable Technologies, e-textiles: Opportunities and Challenges in the Fashion/Apparel Industry invited speaker, Product Innovation in Apparel, June 27 2017
  13. The Future of Textiles panel lead, Trailblazers Conference, NY, November 13, 2015
  14. Wearable Technologies and e-textiles: Connecting the Dots invited speaker, SPESA Executive Conference, Miami, November 5, 2015
  15. The New Tech/Smart Textile Movement panelist, MAGIC Show, Las Vegas, August 16, 2015
  16. Wearable Technology: An Idea Whose Time Has Come? group discussion lead at Product Innovation in Apparel, NY, June 22, 2015
  17. Fashion, Function and Being Human invited speaker at Wearable Technology: Adoption and Monetization Summit, SF, April 22, 2015
  18. Wearable Environments: Sense and Non-Sense invited speaker at Zero Power Smart Fashion, organized by swissnex, NY, September 10, 2014
  19. From Thinking to Making and Back Again invited speaker at Wearable Futures, London, December 10-11, 2014
  1. 2084, Dyson Gallery, London, January 2020
  2. Designing Machines Holon, Israel, October 14 – January 1, 2011
  3. Craftwerk 2.0 Jonkoping, Sweden, September 19, 2009 – March 2010
  4. 100% Design Tokyo, Japan, October 30 – November 2008
  5. Neoteric Matter: New Studio Jewelry, Foundation of the Arts & Sciences New Jersey, US, August 1 – September 15, 2008
  6. Sartorial Flux, A+D Gallery Chicago, US, September 7 – October 21, 2006
  7. The First Andros International Andros, Greece, July 2006
  8. Light into Life, Gwangju Design Biennale Gwangju, Korea, October 18 – November 3, 2005
  9. Pattern Language: Clothing as Communicator, Tufts University Art Gallery Boston, US, traveling summer 2005-winter 2008
  10. Unravel SIGGRAPH 2006 Fashion Show, Boston, US, July 31, 2006
  11. Touch Me Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, June 16 – August 29, 2005
  12. How Smart Are You Dressed Tomorrow? NEMO Museum of Science, Amsterdam, NL, November 8, 2004 (catalogue)
  13. Temporary Tattoo Interval Research Corporation Gallery, Palo Alto, US, April 4 – May 1997
  14. Dig it: The Next Generation Group Exhibition, Limn Gallery, San Francisco, US, January 1997
  15. Can you Dig it? in collaboration with Gerard Lynn
, Group Exhibition, Postmasters Gallery, New York, US, March 1996
  16. Space Odyssey Group Exhibition, Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, Greece, October 1995
  1. “Trust is the New Empathy,” Quartz Magazine, February 15, 2018
  2. “What I learned from Dot: Design for All of Us,” Adjacent, the ITP & IMA Journal of Emerging Media
  3. “Future scenarios: ethical and speculative implications of embodied materialities,” chapter in Wearable Computers and Augmented Reality, CRC Press, 2015
  4. “Concept Development and Interaction Design for Wearable Systems,” Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, published by the Hong Kong Institution of Textile and Apparel, vol. 14, no. 4 2010
  5. “Bodies in Space and Time”, Keho, Centre for Interaction Design, Napier University, Edinburgh, UK: May 2008
  6. “Wearable Technologies, Portable Architectures and the Vicissitudes of the Space Between,” AD Magazine, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2007
  7. “Desiring Technologies Case Studies in the Coming of Being of Wearable Technologies,” proceedings of the Wearable Futures Conference, organized by the University of Wales, Newport, September 2005
  8. “1000 (little tips of communication),” co-written with Usman Haque proceedings of the Wearable Futures Conference, organized by the University of Wales, Newport, September 2005
  9. “Interface Me: Pursuing Sociability through Personal Devices,” Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, UK: Springer-Verlag, Volume 5, Issue 3, August 2001
  10. “Wearable Computing: the M-Bracelet,” What + If, The Research Journal of the NCR Knowledge Lab, UK: Autumn 1999
  1. Make: Wearable Electronics: Design, prototype, and wear your own interactive garments by Kate Hartman, Maker Media, 2014
  2. Textile Messages: Dispatches From the World of E-Textiles and Education by Leah Buechley, Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2013
  3. Textile Visionaries: Innovation and Sustainability in Textile Design by Bradley Quinn, Laurence King Publishing, 2013
  4. The Handbook of Fashion Studies edited by Amy de la Haye, Regina Root et al., Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013
  5. Fashionable Technology: The Intersection of Design, Fashion, Science, and Technology by Sabine Seymour, Springer Verlaag, 2010
  6. Functional Aesthetics by Sabine Seymour, Springer Verlaag, 2010
  7. Future Fashion. El futuro de la moda by Macarena San Martin, Promopress, 2010
  8. Fashionable Technology by Sabine Seymour, Springer Verlaag, 2008
  9. WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) April 2, 2008 and January 10, 2007
  10. Fashion and Accessories ArtEZ Press, TERRA, June 2007
  11. I.D. 40: Celebrating the Collective January 2007
  12. Fashioning the Future: Tomorrow’s Wardrobe by Suzanne Lee, Thames & Hudson, 2005