Some of you may remember I had recently posted this dress as a “mystery” because the designer had not mentioned anything about how it was constructed. Well, I finally got hold of the creator, Ardjoen Mangre, and the mystery is now solved. Not only is it solved, but it’s going to open up even more doors for people that want to hack textiles. So, onto the deets on how this dress gets its scrunch on.
Ardjoen and his team started with two textiles—one is a hexagon sustainable fabric, while the other is a woven perforated fabric. The top layer fabric has the ability to scrunch, while the lining fabric adds body and weight to help return the top layer back to its initial flat state. The secret is in the treatment of the fabric.
We created our own special shape memory fabric by treating the fabric with some chemicals and coating it with an acrylic paint to get the flexible but at the same time tough properties.
The fabric looks rather thick to work with, and it reminds me of the rubber coated matting used inside nice kitchen cabinets or under rugs to prevent slipping. Apparently the most difficult part about the project was the turnaround time of five days. The team managed to create a concept, figure out the technique, create the dress, and do all the videos and documentation in that amount of time. That’s some hustle!
Ardjoen said that the faculty and students definitely liked the dress, and he definitely learned a lot in this unique process.
The nice thing about this project was that this project made me see a totally different side of technology and movement. Exploring different textiles, interacting with them, focusing on how their properties and behavior can be changed. You don’t always need motors or sensors, your body itself is full of sensors and is able to initiate movement. Experiencing the possibilities of interaction between your garment and your body is what I liked most about this project. Creating a dialogue between the garment and the person who wears it.
I really like what he says about our bodies already being full of sensors. It’s something people are forgetting about and it’s nice to draw attention to it. I know I used to have a gored skirt from Anthropologie that had wire embedded vertically in each of the seams, and it was meant to scrunch into different shapes. You could wear it shorter like a puckered pouf, or longer with gentle curves. It did make you very aware of sitting and it was fun to see what movements would make it bend. Some people have been using servo motors to create movement in their wearables, too. This technique can be great combined with a sensor, like when you want an outfit to move in reaction to an event. One of my fave Adafruit guides shows a playful use of a servo—the Really Simple Animatronic Tail. So, if you are interested in movement, you can have some fun at Halloween or cosplay with this project. Go lemur!
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