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What You Need to Know About Coral Revealed in a Dress #WearableWednesday #Wearabletech

At first glance this looks like another LED embellished prom dress, but it’s actually art in response to the plight of coral. Tho Shi Yee decided she wanted to combine her love of fashion, art and tech and created Breathe. The dress not only has an undersea theme, but it also reacts to humans coming too close, changing the LEDs white. The white color is symbolic of coral bleaching, which adds a sad truth of human intervention to the swirling colors in the dress. Here’s the designer’s inspiration.

The coral themed garment was inspired by Ernst Haeckel’s Sea anemones prints. The use of textures and unique forms in his illustrations influenced me to design a dress that carries a soft and dreamy effect. The concept behind this dress is to address the environmental issue of the dying sea corals due to water pollution by fabric dye. As quoted from Eileen Fisher, “the textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world”. In efforts to raise people’s awareness on this issue, my project contains no fabric dyes and instead, is replaced with recycled printed banner and led lights to bring colour into my dress.

Although there is no mention to how the dress was made, I suspect there is an Arduino with a proximity sensor or light sensor to trigger the RGB LEDs. Something remarkable about the construction is how the LEDs appear to float on the sheer dress. It seems that they were stitched to the under layer of sheer fabric, which allows for some depth and diffusion when the model turns. The waistline also has tentacle details which gracefully suggest sea anemones. I certainly hope that Tho Shi Yee had a successful debut of her dress because it’s an exciting way to encourage conversation about a serious environmental issue. If you would like to get started with your own LED blinged wearable with sensing capabilities, you should check out our Getting Started With FLORA learning guide. It explains all the basics of our fave wearable microcontroller, including the add-on modules which can bring light, color, motion, GPS and other sensing options. Don’t know coding? No worries, as there are plenty of great projects on our site with code ready to cut, paste and load. Just do it!


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