In Style article about Adafruit’s James DeVito on making Taylor Swift’s LED dress #WearableWednesday


James DeVito works in the fabrication department here at Adafruit and on the side he makes dresses for slightly famous people like this girl Taylor Swift who is a singer or something. James recently got interviewed by In Style about his work on the dress.

Name any pop singer during an onstage performance and chances are her costumes consist of sequins (lots of ’em), sheer pieces in varying degrees of opacity (from semi to completely translucent), body-hugging silhouettes, and frankly, little to no fabric. But Taylor Swift—well, she’s not your average multi-platinum megastar. During her 1989 World Tour, she continues to light up every single sold-out stadium packed with something like 60,000 fans. Literally. She actually lights up.

It’s a song that starts out like any other, with a giant HD screen for a backdrop and the instrumental beginnings of “How You Get the Girl,” complete with the staccato pitter-patter of rain drops for effect. But the crew of 12 backup dancers possess more than just skilled footwork choreographed to perfection—each one is decked in three-piece battery-operated suits lined with LED light strips that run down each seam. The umbrellas they’re holding, too, are striped with LED lights. The climactic moment, though, is when Swift appears in a flash of light, courtesy of her own LED-equipped crop top and skirt set.

All of that—the lights, the costumes, everything—is the collaborative group effort, or rather, the genius work of three hardware-software-radio design electronic engineers Dave Sheinkopf, James DeVito, and Dylan Fashbaugh, and costume designer Asher Levine.

“It’s basically an LED screen on a person. Each dancer has 800 pixels spread across the body, which is synched up to the music,” Sheinkopf tells InStyle. “The lighting design for the stage has 35,000 moving parts. It’s definitely the most innovative, progressive lighting system out there.”

That’s not to say that Swift is the first singer ever to wear technology during a performance. Sheinkopf calls out Katy Perry and Rihanna as her predecessors, but it’s “definitely the most complicated wearable lighting system for a stage show. It’s the first time that’s been done with 13 people at once,” he says.

And given that level of complexity, there was definitely no shortage of challenges. For one, the rigorous stunts had to be considered. “When I first saw the dancers rehearsing the routine, I almost fainted,” Sheinkopf says. “I thought it was impossible. We were basically installing computers on them. Electronics on a moving part is always difficult, but it becomes increasingly difficult when it’s a dancer who’s doing backflips or somersaults.”

Read more.


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!

Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.

Join 7,500+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython in 2018 – Python on Microcontrollers is here!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

Maker Business — Despite multiple bankruptcies, RadioShack continues to find ways to keep the lights on

Wearables — Tape, meet 3D printing

Electronics — A few words on inductor resistance

Biohacking — Running Blades

Python for Microcontrollers — Help bring CircuitPython to other languages!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.