Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new FastCompany.com?

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.

Co.Design

Dresses Breathe And Glow In Response To Environment [Videos]

The Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec opens a solo exhibit on the fashion designer-cum-techie artiste Ying Gao.

To an ordinary person, clothing that "interacts" with the environment sounds like a euphemism for spilling ketchup all over your pants. But fashion designer Ying Gao is no ordinary person. What she calls interactive clothes are in fact tech-rigged wearable sculptures that rustle, breathe, and glow in response to changes in their surroundings. In her hands, fashion literally comes to life.

Last month, the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec opened Ying Gao: Art, Fashion and Technology, a solo exhibit that shows off the best of Gao's intelligent couture. That includes Walking City 2, a pleated dress that puffs in and out like a lung when visitors breathe into a microphone nearby. (The garment was inspired by Archigram, the vaunted '60s-era architecture collective that made inflatable dwellings a form of avant-garde art.)

dresses-comp

Here's Living Pod, a frilly leather and organza confection that's equipped with light-reactive sensors. When triggered, the sensors activate motors, forcing the fabric to slowly expand and contract:

Our favorite, Playtime (a reference to Jacques Tati's bestest-ever film of the same name), features two dresses that respond to flashing cameras. One shimmies and appears like a big blur, while the other emits its own burst of light. Both make it exceedingly difficult for photogs to snap a decent picture, which is precisely the point. It's a clever middle finger to the cultishness of fashion shows, where, as the museum points out, "photography is king."

The exhibit runs through Aug. 28. More videos here.

[Images courtesy of Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec; hat tip to MocoLoco]

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Martina

    When I was a kid I had a dress with butterflies made out of a material that shriveled in dry weather and swelled in humid weather, so the butterflies came alive in the summer and hibernated in the winter. I thought it was magic! These dresses are interesting, but I'd love to see the technology used to make something simpler and more magical, like my butterflies.