In 2000, Hussein Chalayan, the Turkish fashion designer, exhibited a dress that transformed by remote control in his Spring/Summer show, Before Minus Now. He became famous for animatronics and interactive fashion, for instance, he also exhibited a coffee table that transformed into a skirt.
People have sought the future in fashion shows, and that has been amplified as the technology has gotten more advanced and smaller. Recently, I had the chance to take a small interactive fashion course, Introduction to Interactive Fashion Design, at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The course went over basic circuit boards with inputs and outputs, such as motion sensors, photon sensors, and LED strips, which can be applied to fashion design (MakeCode: Simple and Visual, Good First Step to Learn Programming). In the entry, I list interactive fashion designs that inspired me the most during the course.
Dress that responds as others breathe — Ying Gao, 2011
Ying Gao is a Montreal based, Chinese designer, and I listed a lot of her work in this entry. She explored and produced a lot of work which expanded the potential in the use of technology in interactive fashion. Walking City is a series of three dresses that react to air. One of the dresses comes with origami-style structured fabric which moves with hidden pneumatic pumps as others breathe. She was inspired by a British avant-garde architectural group from the 1960s.
TshirtOS makes a shirt hug you via text message - Cute Circuit, 2012
London based Cute Circuit teamed up with Whiskey-maker, Ballantine’s, to create a t-shirt that connected to smartphones and displayed tweets, photos, and status updates to its built-in LED grid.
“The t-shirt has always been about leaving an impression. A creative canvas. The status updates, before the status updates existed. The original like button.”
— Cute Circuit
Google glasses made their catwalk debut — Diane Von Furstenberg, 2012
At Diane Von Furstenberg’s Spring/Summer 2013 runway, models wore Google glasses on the catwalk, recording the video footage of the show. This was not only about models wearing Google glasses, but it was an attempt to collaborate with a fashion designer to develop special editions for Google glasses.
Biker’s SEIL Bag signals traffic signs - leemyungsu design lab, 2013
A kickstarter project originally, SEIL Bag can illuminate various traffic signals to cars or other bikers behind using an LED grid. The signals include arrow signs, messages like “stop” and “sorry”, and can be controlled by the bike-bell-shaped remote control. Pixelated icons or messages can also be composed in and transmitted from a smartphone app.
Dress that responds with your camera — Ying Gao, 2013
Inspired by Jacques Tati’s film Playtime (1967), these dresses titled with the same name illuminate with light-sensitive pads or undulate as they detect flash lights with light-sensitive sensors.
Dresses respond when you are gazed - Ying Gao, 2013
These dresses, (No)where (Now)here, detect observers’ gazes with eye-tracking technology, and respond by changing the patterns or glowing in the dark with photoluminescent thread.
“Fashion designers have known for a long time that they are working with a fleeting material that will never be timeless. However, the integration of electronic technology seems to modify the creative process, both in terms of the surface and the structure of garments.”
— Ying Gao
Bra that knows how women truly feel - Rhizomatiks, 2014
The lingerie company Ravijour developed the True Love Tester, a bra that only unhooks by itself when the wearer really feels the love. This promotional product was developed by the creative group, Rhizomatiks, with a built-in heart-beat sensor that could connect to a smartphone to analyze body responses.
Smart threads that could save lives - Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory, 2014
These biometric textiles are aimed at detecting changes in physical conditions that may be caused by uterine contraction in a pregnant woman or respiration of infants. Computer engineer, Kapil Dandekar; fashion designer, Genevieve Dion, and OBGYN, Owen Montgomery have been experimenting with this wearable medical device with support from the National Science Foundation.
Dress that undulates as long as you can keep your face neutral — Ying Gao, 2016
Called Can’t and Won’t is a series of dresses whose delicate lacy surfaces undulate as observers look at the dresses with neutral facial expressions. As soon as the facial recognition camera detects changes to observers’ facial expressions, these movements pause.
“[The dress] demands a level of humility, which is clearly out of sync with today’s over-the-top expressiveness.”
Dress that animates responding to strangers — Ying Gao, 2017
When a stranger places their finger on the fingerprint reader built around the neck of the dress, Possible Tomorrows, its fabric starts to curl and twist. If their fingerprint is read once, they are no longer a stranger and the dress won’t react like that again.
“The logic of security has become a political technology, that too often prevents us from emancipating. I would like these garments to open up to people that are strangers.”
— Ying Gao
Jumpsuit that vibrates and lights up based on the asteroids around the earth — Wearable Media, 2018
Wearable Media focuses on telling stories by bringing imperceptible data to physical objects. This prototype has LED strips representing the distance of asteroids with their brightness and the speed of asteroids with the how fast LED strip runs. The same asteroid data, which is provided by NASA’s Near Earth Object API, also makes the back of the suit vibrate.
“A lot of our concepts are coming from the idea of ‘How do we build awareness with our environment?’, ‘How can we bring the imperceptible to the physical in garments?’”
— Hellyn Teng, One of Wearable Media’s founders
Smart jacket — JACQUARD, 2018
This jacket by Levi’s, with a capacitive sensor, connects to the app on the smartphone via bluetooth. It comes with numbers of pre-programmed gestures which you can assign different functions to, such as playing music and giving the next direction on the map app. Its cuff will vibrate as you receive notifications, and the sensor responds to swipe gestures, taps, and double-taps.
Unlike some smart clothes in the past, this jacket is a little less gadgety- you can wash the jacket, and it has nice details that you would expect on nice jackets.
Sneakers that fit your feet when you put them on — Nike, 2019
Adapt BB is a simple looking pair of basketball sneakers, which are smarter than ever. As you place your foot in the shoe, its laces tighten up by themselves using a power-lacing system called FitAdapt. The built-in custom motor with trained gears senses the tension needed by your feet and adjusts itself accordingly. How tight you want can be adjusted from its own mobile application, or buttons placed on the side of these shoes.