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Grandmom’s Lamp Turned into a Dress #WearableWednesday

With all those curves, wire and LEDs, you would think this is a favorite lamp. However, it’s really a lovely “Luminance Dress” — part vintage and part magic. It was created by Rachel Oliver, student in Digital Art and Tech at Plymouth University. And that vintage look? It’s no coincidence; it’s a nod to someone famous.

My inspiration behind the dress came mainly from the artist Atsuko Tanaka who created the “Electric Dress” in 1956. She first made the comment that electric circuitry reflected the same physiological system within our bodies, and the connection between our bodies and technology. So I wanted to reflect her thoughts within my piece using modern technologies. I feel my project also shows the future of fashion and how technologies can be incorporated into the design of clothing to enhance its design, rather than always being hidden. This was why I used clear plastic as the base of the dress, to make the tech obvious.

As far as the magic, those spirals that represent the circuitry of the body are recycled TV coax cable. Other electronics include a Lilypad Arduino, an accelerometer and traditional LEDs. You may be wondering why Rachel chose the traditional ones, considering she could have had some LED sequins that would have been ready to stitch.  Apparently she wanted to stretch her learning and figure out the appropriate resistors needed to complete the circuit (#whyweloveRachel). Here’s what she had to say about wearing the dress.

I love wearing my dress! When the wearer moves, the LEDs light up in a heartbeat rhythm, highlighting the connection to the human body again. It’s really fun to move around and try to get the LEDs to light up!

Although you can’t test Rachel’s dress, you do have the opportunity to make one of your own. Get inspired with our Sparkle Skirt tutorial. Oh yeah, and if you want to be like Rachel with the resistors, you should download our Circuit Playground App for Iphone/Ipad.


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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