Something we ask often as analytical human beings is the question why. When it pertains to fashion and individuality, we typically question, “Why does this person favor this style?” and the plethora of answers keeps us speculating. Perhaps they know it accentuates a particular feature, or they admire someone who dressed similarly. In a way, we’re attempting to decode their dress. Yet ironically, the fashion industry is gravitating towards the opposite – they’re looking to code the industry. In the most highly technical sense of the word, an overlap now exists between computer science and fashion. Without a doubt, the most famous example of coded dress is a literal example featured in Zac Posen’s Spring-Summer 2016 Show this month. The result of a partnership with Google’s non-profit “Made with Code,” the endeavor partnered thirty young girls with the designer to turn his digital dreams into a reality, creating a pulsing dress that featured LED lights matching the rest of his collection.
Posen’s creation is certainly not the only example. Even here at Princeton, four alums devised a program that would recommend changes to an outfit based on complementary color schematics.
In a more tangible dimension, designers are moving more and more towards the use of CAD (computer-aided design) software to transform their sketches from pages to printers as 3D printing becomes more accessible and affordable. Emerging designer Chromat collaborated with Intel to create their “Aeros Sports Bra,” which not only makes you feel as invincible as Katniss Everdeen, but also gives you the tools to make you so. Sensors imbedded within the bra gauge your heat levels, and signal vents to open and cool your body down when needed. Similarly, a dress the team designed senses stress and adrenaline levels that cause the dress itself to transform into a more imposing shape (wings and all), giving the wearer confidence.
The love affair isn’t one sided either – while fashion houses have reached out to tech firms, the corporations have reciprocated. Apple has sought a partnership with Hermés to restyle their new smartwatch to appeal to the fashionistas.
Google started a partnership with Diane von Furstenburg to redesign Google Glass, in hopes of achieving similar goals. In what may have been previously thought as impossible, two different worlds – one that preaches pure practicality, and another other that, at times, seems to rarely consider it, are coming together.
Maybe soon enough I’ll be writing to you from a laptop that doubles as a purse. Who knows.