Cap_able, whose first three letters stand for Collaboration, Awareness and People, is an Italian clothing brand against facial recognition. In fact it is a reality recently born in our country, in 2019, thanks to the founders Rachele Didero, Federica Busani and Giovanni Maria Conti. On the main homepage of their site we read that the idea comes from a “discourse on contemporary society, technology and human rights”. Where the ultimate goal is therefore “to stimulate discussion and raise awareness of issues that are part of the present and that will shape our future”.
How the company was born
Rachele Didero was in America for an internship after a semester spent at the Fashion Institute of Technology. This prestigious fashion and design institute focuses on aspects related to every area of fashion. And that’s where Rachele had an argument with an engineer from Berkeley who spoke to him about human rights and privacy issues. Then going in her direction that will lead her to combine fashion and computer vision technology.
Back at the Politecnico di Milano, Didero carried out her first experiments and in 2020 she moved to Shenkar College in Tel Aviv, Israel. Thanks to the institute’s Textile department, she develops what is necessary to set up the company and produce the first garments.
Cap_able and the defense of privacy through the union of fashion and technology
The acronym of the initial letters in the brand name underlines the mission and values that inspire the guys behind it. In fact it is about:
- C_ollaboration: where we mean the union between fashion, technology and the textile environment. The combination of these three areas gave birth to the creation of the adversarial fabric. This allowed the development and prototyping of the first collection with an anti-recognition theme: the poster collection.
- A_wareness: Cap_able with its clothing line, aims to raise awareness of the issues and dangers to privacy deriving from AI. And along with it, the rights of non-binary people and those who have fertility problems. In fact, the company poses the dilemma of collective protection, which according to what they write, should start from the protection of the individual.
- P_eople: finally there is the will to focus production on the culture of the person. Valuing the expression of the single individual, where other realities are further behind in this same mission.
What is the Manifesto collection and prices that are not really accessible to everyone
Video surveillance is a tool that increases security, without a doubt. But it also brings with it a certain perception of intrusiveness which requires adequate protection. Furthermore all this creates the need for new laws in favor of the protection of privacy and people’s rights.
So it is increasingly in this context that Cap_able, with its innovation, seeks precisely to “oppose” the surveillance of an electronic eye. An example of this is the line with geometric or variously figurative motifs and designs in jacquard style. Precisely this particular class of decorations, together with the studies made by Didero in the field of AI, confuses the facial recognition algorithms.
The fabrics made in this way have provided an exceptional dataset for the Real Time Object Recognition system, YOLO. This software detects objects in real time up to more than 9000 object categories. Models wearing Cap_able-made garments in the test avoided being labeled as a person and the YOLO system did not recognize them. More than anything else, the textures provided the algorithm with results such as “giraffes”, “zebras”, or “dogs”.
Unfortunately though, currently the sweatshirts and knitwear have total prices ranging from 300-400 to 500 euros. In short, a price that is not really accessible to everyone, not to the everyday public, in general. From Cap_able these figures are justified by the quantity and above all the quality of the research behind them. In any case, the CEO herself acknowledges the need to adjust the price ranges to make the products affordable for every pocket.