The combination of fashion, art, and science isn’t the most commonly covered subject on this website. Mood-sensitive dresses and 3D-printed dresses are a couple of the exceptions. It seems like there’s a pattern developing. Do I even have to tell you guys that what we’re talking about today is dresses? And not only is there one central dress being discussed, but I’m also going to throw two other dresses at you afterward. Don’t worry, there’s a functional glove story we’re covering as well.
Montreal fashion designer and Univerisité du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) professor Ying Gao earned her Masters Degree in Multimedia at the school where she now teaches. She has made interactive clothing one of her focuses throughout her career, and has earned her share of attention and accolades for her efforts. Her latest project, called “(No)Where (Now)here,” is comprised of two dresses created using photoluminescent thread with eye-tracking technology embedded into them. Both are quite different in design: one looks like a frilly nightie while the other looks kind of like a weird smock, but only because it looks like she’s wearing a shirt underneath. What they look like takes second place to what they’re designed to do.
Say these two ladies are standing around having a conversation in a dark alley, late at night, when someone happens upon them. But instead of being a vicious attacker, that person is just someone interested in their dresses. The women would be alerted to the person’s non-leery and non-rapey stare by their dresses lighting up and moving around, as the gaze-activated tech sets a series of small motors into motion. It doesn’t seem to react to the specific portion of the dress being stared at. A lot of men would get in trouble if this dress ever became a marketed item. But not that nice guy in the alley.
Take a look at the dresses in action below, and try not to get mesmerized while you wolf down this Ziploc bag of shrooms. Just so you know, the dresses will be on exhibition at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art in November, while the Textile Museum of Canada will being showing the project off in spring of next year.
You say you want more dresses? We got more dresses, both also the work of Gao, who is more than welcome to design what I wear the next time I go out in public. The first video features a dress that reacts to light by curling up and down, while the second one features a shape-changing material that reacts to a person’s breathing via hydraulic pumps. The third one shows a dress that reflects light that hits it, giving it a washed-out and blurry look. Inventive craziness all around.