Coded Couture – wearable tech reveals emotions

Ruffling feathers, eye-tracking and lie-detecting technology

Wearable technology is weaving itself into the fashion industry and the latest exhibit at Pratt Institute Manhattan Gallery focuses on coding in design.

'Coded_Couture' displays customized garments and designs that utilise coding for their behaviour. Other mediums including videos, drawings, photographs and interactive applications are used to exemplify the direction that fashion is traveling.

Redefining the ruffling of feathers

'Ruffling your feathers' attains a whole new meaning with BioWear kinetic accessories from leading wearable technology expert and industrial designer Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman. This particular design, pictured, is crafted using a stretch-leather harness with turkey and coq feathers that can communicate the wearer's emotions through movement. The kinetic accessory monitors the wearer's heart rate, so when the wearer is calm the individually arranged feathers will rest, and when they are excited or scared they will show movement.

wearable technology show

Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, BioWear, 2015, stretch leather, turkey and coq feathers, hand-dyed silk ties, heart rate monitor, electronics, courtesy of the designer. Photo Credit: Cody Miller

Pinocchio no more

Dutch designers Melissa Coleman, Leonie Smelt and Joachim Rotteveel have created what is perhaps a controversial garment with the 'Holy Dress'. Designed with speech technology analysis, the dress will shock the wearer when they are being dishonest. Reminiscent of Pavlov's dogs, the shocks are designed to 'train' the wearer to be more truthful hence the 'punishment' of the shockwave. The shocks are expected to be no more than that of a dog's collar, typically no higher than 10.000V.

A speech recognition system will monitor the wearer's conversation, always checking for lies through voice stress analysis. During conversation the dress lights up and grows in intensity as the wearer increases their likelihood of being dishonest. If a lie is told the lights will flicker and give the wearer an electric shock.

wearable technology show

Melissa Coleman, Leonie Smelt and Joachim Rotteveel, Holy Dress, 2012, copper plated metal dress, commercial lie detector, collar for training dogs with shocks, LED lights, fabric dress, custom electronics, video. Credit: Melissa Coleman and Leonie Smelt. Photo Credit: Sanja Marusik

When asked what kind of a response the designers received from the public about the dress, Melissa Coleman commented:

'One person thought it raised the question of who is in charge, the person choosing to wear the technology or the technology punishing her. I really liked that - I feel that way about a lot of the technology in my life.'

Eye for detail

Ying Gao's No[Where] / Now [Here] collection comprises some interesting concepts. The dresses use photo luminescent thread with embedded eye-tracking technology that responds to the spectator's gaze. This could prove to be quite interesting when worn, perhaps even making the wearer uncomfortable depending on where their company's gaze chooses to rest!

wearable technolgoy show

Ying Gao, No[Where] / Now [Here], 2013, Super organza, photoluminescent thread, PVDF, electronic devices; courtesy of the designer/ Photo Credit: Dominique Lafond

The designer's Incertitudes range (2013) incorporates voice technology, dressmaker pins and electronic devices whereby the pins respond to voice in a series of wave-like movements.

wearable technology show

Ying Gao, Incertitudes, 2013; PVDF, dressmaker pins, electronic devices; courtesy of the designer. Photo Credit: Mathieu Fortin

The iMiniSkirt

A cropped cousin of CuteCircuit's world's first haute couture Twitter dress, the iMiniSkirt lights up with a live feed of colours and animation from audience input to create a constantly evolving dynamic garment.

At the Pratt Gallery Manhattan, visitors were encouraged to engage with the fashion piece using a specially-created hashtag on a nearby tablet.

wearable technology show

Cute Circuit, iMiniskirts at AW 15 CuteCircuit RTW Fashion Show at NYFW; photo courtesy of CuteCircuit. Photo Credit: Theodoros Chliapas

Exhibition details

Exhibition begins at Pratt Manhattan Gallery before traveling nationally to galleries including Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas; Tufts University Art Gallery, The Shirley and Alex Aidekman Arts Center, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts; CAM | Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina; and Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, Florida.

Location: Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 2nd Floor, 144 West 14th Street, NY, USA

Dates: Friday, Feb 12, 2016 -- Saturday, Apr 30, 2016


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