Blog Post

Tech+Fashion+Games+Theatre=Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair

Surely the hippest, most creative, most inspiring fashion in the very fashionable Stockholm is at the fabulous Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair (  If you check out the website and the online store, you will see immediately that this is not a cobbler's shop. At Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, the fanciful couture looks like avatars from some other place that you want to be.   It's like some high-fashion avant garde cross between Yojhi Yamamoto and Paul Smith, with a dash of Galliano and a pinch of Rik Owens.  And it was here, with a brilliant and beautiful young playwright who is also one of Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair's ten employees, that I had a great conversation about technology and art.


First, fashion.   After being dangerously restrained in our fashion purchases on this trip to Sweden (it is not a bargain kind of place), Ken and I returned to Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair and, this time, we succumbed--he to a suit he'd been looking for for several months and me to a fabulous black jacket (because, after all, who doesn't need a 32nd black jacket?).   A lovely young woman with long blond hair and enormous grey-blue eyes spent time with us, telling us about how much of the store is hand fashioned, about the couture elements, about the inspirations from the world of dance.   We never learned her name but found out she designs their runway shows which are marvelous combinations of art and technology so we began talking about that mix.  What better place to discuss technology than a fashion store inspired by British shoemaking handicraft?


This young woman turned out to be a student who was also a budding playwright.  Since I got my own writer's chops (long ago!) as a playwright, we began to discuss theater in Sweden and she said something interesting.  She was having a discussion with some of her teachers about the craft of narrative and drama.  A gamer, she was interested in the conventions of the fifth wall (or is it the fourth?), in linear development, of emplotment, and how all of those change if you are engaged in the theatrical play of games, where the distance between story and player collapse in the playing, where each turn in the plot is your game challenge, where the mechanics of game play and stagecraft are inseparable, and where video and installation and set design are interactive and permeable.   Not set. 


Of course I gave her a HASTAC card and invited us to join our network and let us know about her upcoming reading of one of her plays at a drama festival.   As I think about the dwindling numbers on Broadway, I can only imagine what theater will look like in the next decade.  If there is a young Swedish art student, recently a designer of fashion shows, and a gamer, too, up there in lights on Broadway, I won't be surprised.








Thanks for giving me all thoose praises, the conversation with you also made me start thinking about the wonderful things about the combination art and tech. It also made me feel that Sweden is a really small country that doesen´t have universities like yours. I would love to be able to take courses and do research like yours. Im lucky that im in the world of imagination so i can pretend. 

And my biggest challenge now is - does my play needs a beginning, middle and ending? In games we never ask for it we just jump in and start to look for clues or things we know from before. We try to move or to learn how to get around, or to investigate the surrondings and the next time we play we might just want to hang around. Or in the middle we need to eat. I dont mean we should only change the way of behaving as an audience i just mean that the eye and brain are so quick today to pick up things, and as a cause of that I can let things pop up more easily or swtich between total different scenes on the stage. And the most interesting thing for me with games is that we dont need to economize/keep house with the experience. Cause we can just play again. How should I get that in my plays? Hmm. Well. Well.

Your last lines almost made me cry, cause sometimes I think that Im doing it the wrong way when im trying to combinate all kind of things in life - i dont see the connection. But with your lines I see it and Im also belive that there is a desert at broadway and we need something more thrilling for our minds to watch/interactive in/enjoy/play with. 

I will keep in touch and start to use Hastac as much as my languageskills allows. 

Love Karin!



Hi, Karin,  So nice to have met you and to have you in our HASTAC network.  We will be happy to print announcements about your fashion shows and readings of your plays.   I'd love to link to more Swedish students.  Fiona Barnett is the Director of the HASTAC Scholars (mostly graduate students and some undergraduates, including international) and I'll let her know about you.


Good luck with all you do in the world.