Wearable Warnings

When threatened, animals often display physical warnings; e.g. porcupines or puffer fish both erect their spines as a physical defence and warning, snakes rattle their tales or expand their body, chamelions change colour…

Wearable Warnings, a project by Philip Worthington at the RCA in London, is a coat inspired by such behaviour.


The prototype coat features warning strips of fur that become electro-statically charged when the wearer feels threatened. “When charged the fur begins to stand on end; a visual indication that the wearer is uncomfortable. If someone invades the wearer’s personal space they will begin to feel a second warning; as they enter the coat’s electrostatic field they will feel tingling skin sensations and their hair will stand on end. The fur will begin to twitch toward them and emit crackling sounds. If the ‘threat’ proceeds to touch the fur then 100,000 volts of electro-static charge discharges from the fur, into the offender’s body.”

Two videos illustrate the effectiveness of the garment: when rebuffing sexual advances and when facing a physical assault.

Related: the electroshock jacket and the no-contact jacket.