Your most comfortable clothing should move with you and the most successful garment should complement and even augment your body rather than simply covering or concealing it. It should make a statement about who you are. Clothing of the future could do that and more, according to architect Behnaz Farahi and fashion designer Pauline van Dongen. It could actively perform and transform in response to your surroundings.
Farahi and van Dongen envision performative couture that interacts with the bodies of its wearers as well as external stimuli, changing shape and, in essence, becoming another extension of the body. To that end, they designed Ruff, a 3D printed attachment that’s much more than an accessory — it’s like a living thing that moves as the wearer moves.
A reference to the ostentatious ruff worn in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, the piece is something like a large, wearable Slinky that enlivens and seems to crawl as your body moves through space, rippling like the surface of water as wind crosses it, curving like the spine as the body bends, elongating as it stretches. Indeed, the piece does resemble a gracefully articulated spine.
The collaborative duo teamed up as part of the larger Creators Project, a collective of visionary artists from across the globe who are utilizing cutting edge technology to, they say, “push the boundaries of creative expression.” Artists like Spike Jonze, Daft Punk, Björk, David Bowie, and Supermarche are together, like van Dongen and Farahi, imagining a high-tech future that isn’t simply about unprecedented innovation and automation but about living artfully.
Van Dongen, who resides in the Netherlands, has created other forward thinking fashion, like her Mesopic Light Jacket, which uses LED ribbons to produce wearable, colorful luminescence and a Wearable Solar Shirt that features 120 small solar cells connected to a USB port that can power a device like a smartphone.
Farahi’s beautiful, cerebral, high-tech designs include The Living, Breathing Wall, a kinetic wall, and the remarkable headwear, Synapse, a “multi-material 3D-printed wearable piece that moves and changes shape in response to the activity of the brain.”
The two felt 3D design and printing would offer them the best results when they set out to design a piece of kinetic clothing. However, they found the material either too fragile or too rigid to achieve the results they desired, so they adjusted their approach. Rather than asking the material to conform, they conformed to the properties of the material and created a folded coil or spiral that, when connected to the body of the wearer — something like draping a scarf or a complicated wrap around the shoulders and torso — would act as an active extension of the body.
The piece is being showcased this week at South By Southwest, the yearly festival held in Austin, Texas where the creative go to present and witness original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. SXSW is well-known for highlighting the latest in a variety of fields.
Farahi believes that technologies like 3D printing will facilitate a future of “wearables” that are far more than garments. Rather, they’re “near environments,” in her words, clothing that is creatively “integrated with our bodies.”
“Just as our skin can respond to various internal and external stimuli,” Farahi says, “so too our outfits would do the same in the future and be able to define various social issues such as intimacy, privacy, gender, and identity.”
Will you be at SXSW? Let us know if you stop by to visit Ruff in the 3D Printed Wearable forum thread over at 3DPB.com. Check out a short video highlighting the piece’s movement below.