Digital fashion is beginning to spread.
The latest evidence is the dazzling light-up dress for Little Boots, a “Cyber Cinderella” garment that transforms into a blaze of colored LEDs during the encore of her current tour. The Creators Project (VICE) has a short documentary film on the process.
Little Boots, an early adopter of the Yamaha/Toshio Iwai Tenori-On grid instrument, here demonstrates that the costume can be an extension of that matrix of lights. (Your next challenge: a wearable monome.)
What’s significant about the designer in this case, New York-based Michelle Wu, is partly that she isn’t one of the usual suspects of artists championing wearable tech. Instead, Wu admits she turned to YouTube and online resources for tips. That’s good evidence of the ability of these techniques to go viral. And the value of that isn’t just copycats: Wu’s dress looks different than other entries, and I especially appreciate the design as a garment. (Wu may be still teaching herself about which LEDs to use, but the Art Institute of Chicago grad has a deep resume of apparel design and development, including Moschino and Anna Sui internships and work with Heineken at Milan Design Week.)
The garment here doesn’t look like one designed by an engineer. It looks like a dress.
See Michelle Wu’s site for more; I really appreciate her designs. It’s not just the form of the dress that shows her skill: a keen eye for pattern and textile engineering, honed in engineering sweaters, comes through in her treatment of the LEDs.
That’s not to say there aren’t some clever technical features, too. An SD card reader loads pre-programmed shows, so that rather than being a glorified noise meter, the dress dances with pre-configured choreography that fits the song. The pack and its rechargeable lithium battery unfortunately mean there’s a dark patch in the back, but the design is still solid.
And with these designs going viral, it’ll be fascinating to see what happens next.
Via Adafruit, a better resource than ever for finding out how to make this stuff. (It’s stunning how far Limor Fried has taken her projects and site.)
Previously, a wonderful wearable concert costume made of bubbles, from Moscow:
Bubbles and Light, in an Interactive Costume, Integrated with Music