Pratt’s “Coded Couture” Goes Beyond Wearables And 3-D Printing In High-Tech Fashion

Innovation within the fashion world has yielded some wildly inventive things: generative textile prints, statuesque kicks, and wearables that give you superpowers. But what interests Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox—curators of Coded Couture, a forthcoming exhibition at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery—is how designers are using technology as an essential part of their regular creative process.

“Customizing things through data seems so dry and scientific, but it results in garments that are lush and amazing and wonderful,” Duggan says.

Marloes ten Bhömer, screen grab from video, Material Compulsion, 2013, HD video, 12:19 Art Director: Noam Torancourtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery

Duggan and Hoos selected a roster of designers who are using coding to take personalization to the extreme, but not from the standpoint of simply selecting options from a drop down menu a la Nike ID or yet another sensor-packed watch or exuberant 3-D printed necklace. The show features work from designers who are working with biology, like Amy Congdon who explores tissue engineering; psychological coding, like Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz’s garment that changes color based on social media feedback; and Melissa Coleman’s lie-detecting dress that analyzes speech patterns, among others.

“There’s so much happening right now in wearable technology that’s showing what’s ‘possible,’ but the work in this exhibition is about using coding as a tool for extreme customization,” Duggan says. “Like couture is meant to be shaped to your physical measurements, this takes it to the next level in how fashion can reflect your psyche and your interaction with others and the world at large.”

Coinciding with New York Fashion Week, Coded Couture opens on February 12, 2016, and runs through April 30 at Pratt’s Manhattan Gallery.DB