Continuing the theme of updating this blog after a short absence, here is a post on the Applause Dress, which I created way back in February (you remember February don’t you!) with Jacob Birge at the Stitch Lounge.
The concept behind this piece is something that I had been thinking about for a while after discovering videos of Steve Reich’s Clapping Music on YouTube, a bit like this one:
I wanted to create something that would respond to the sounds being made by the performers and I kept coming back to an advert I remembered seeing as a child.
It wasn’t actually this advert, but you get the idea. This had been going round in my head for a while and I decided to test the idea out at the February installment of the Stitch Lounge because it offered the perfect opportunity to create a working prototype in a short space of time.
For this edition I worked with the incredibly talented Jacob Birge who was also enthusiastic to take on the clap-switch challenge.
The third edition of the Stitch Lounge was themed around pattern and we incorporated this idea as much as possible into our design creating a dress consisted of a series of contrasting panels.
For me this was an exciting prospect because often fashion which incorporates technology is minimalist and futuristic in its aesthetic and this can be a little constrictive. I was excited to see how a dress, which incorporated technology and piece which had a vibrant yet feminine design, would work.
As this was a prototype to be created in 48hrs I kept the circuit simple, using a clapping switch kit I brought online. It was easy to put together and simple to modify into a soft circuit. Here is a short video of me testing the extended version of the circuit, you can see the circuit more clearly in the first video here.
I made this the evening before the Stitch Lounge and from there on it was simple to sew it into the dresses’ removable lining. We decided to use green lights rather than the classic “wearable technology white LED” again as a way of playing with colour and shape.
The results worked perfectly and on the catwalk and was a joy to wear.
Here are some pictures of the dress with the lights lit, although the results are much better in low light levels.
I’m now working on the next stage of this project to turn it into a performance piece so watch this space…
Thanks to Carrie and Mark for organising another fantastic event and to Chrisdonia for use of his amazing pictures.