The future of fashion is here with recent trends in wearable technology. What started as a craze for fitness and health (think FitBit or the Apple iWatch), has transcended into high-end fashion. This is giving “wearable tech” a whole new meaning.
Designers are now incorporating different avenues of technology into their sophisticated collections. Advances such as 3D printing, photoluminescent thread, and digital innovations have inspired these five fashion artists to create something totally unique.
With Halloween just a couple of weeks away, these statement pieces are sure to give you some inspiration and ideas for your own digitally-enhanced DIY costumes! If you know someone with a 3D printer, or access to modern digital technology, make use of them and create a costume that everyone will be talking about.
Fashion designer and university professor Ying Gao has created two interactive dresses in a project titled (NO)WHERE (NOW)HERE. The gowns were made out of super organza, photoluminescent thread, a PVDF specialty plastic, and electronic devices. Gao’s creation also incorporates eye-tracking technology, so it’s activated by the spectator’s gaze.
“A photograph is said to be ‘spoiled’ by blinking eyes,” says Gao. “Here however, the concept of presence and of disappearance are questioned, as the experience of chiaroscuro (clarity/obscurity) is achieved through an unfixed gaze.”
Architect, designer, and MIT professor Neri Oxman collaborated with Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb and utilized 3D printing for her project Wanderers. Inspired by natural growth behavior, Oxman used multiplied, engineered organisms to create wearable art. Research in biology and astronomy were at the core for this collection. Oxman based the setting of Wanderers in the solar system, where the only life we know of exists on Earth.
“The wearables are designed to interact with a specific environment characteristic of their destination and generate sufficient quantities of biomass, water, air, and light necessary for sustaining life,” says Oxman. “Some photosynthesize converting daylight into energy, others bio-mineralize to strengthen and augment human bone, and some fluoresce to light the way in pitch darkness.”
Known globally for his artisanal craftsmanship, Zac Posen set out to create a gown that highlighted “the place where technology and fantasy meet.” He succeeded in doing this at the 2016 Met Gala, where he designed a gown made of custom fiber-optic woven organza with 30 mini battery packs sewn into the lining. The glow-in-the-dark gown was worn by actress Claire Danes and received several Cinderella comparisons.
Posen has also worked, through Google’s Made With Code initiative, to make an LED dress by and for female coders!
London based fashion company CuteCircuit was founded in 2004 by Creative Director Francesca Rosella and CEO Ryan Genz. Their creation, the GalaxyDress, is currently on exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The mesmerizing gown features 2,400 hand-embroidered full color pixels. The circuits are flexible and extra-thin, making the silk gown move with ease for the wearer. There are also 4 layers of silk chiffon which diffuse the light and the GalaxyDress also works with batteries.
If you’re looking for a different kind of inspiration for your Halloween ensemble–maybe something more gory than glamorous–check out Digital Dudz. Former NASA scientist Mark Rober created his first iPad-based Halloween costume back in 2011. Since then, he quit rocket science to design more costume concepts using technology–specifically smartphones and tablets. Rober now produces several tech-based t-shirts, masks, sweaters, and costumes for Digital Dudz.
Whether you want to create a beautiful Cinderella gown that glows in the dark, a 3D masterpiece, or a chilling open-wound costume, you’re sure to turn heads if you take inspiration from these innovative ideas. If that feels too daunting, there’s another great way to combine tech and costumes this October: dress up your Evo or Bit for Halloween! Be sure to share your creations using #OzoSquad.