How can coding translate into fashion? Not coding as it relates to computer programming. Think about all the biological and cultural codes, or ways a designer might approach the design process. What if cells were used instead of fabric to create accessories? Or what if a dress could change its shape based on the sound of its wearer’s voice? Coded Couture, a new exhibit opening on Friday at the Pratt Institute, will touch upon all these possibilities and more.
The show is less a riposte to headline-making wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch, and more an exploration of the future of fashion, as well as the scope of our own imagination. “What we would like people to do is to think about life and work in a critical way, a more thoughtful way,” explains co-curator Judith Hoos Fox.
The travelling exhibition plays host to 10 international designers and a dynamic range of personalized garments that fit, change, or react uniquely to the wearer. One of the designers is Ying Gao, who does a beautiful yet intelligent line of garments: one dress, made from a kind of super organza and photo-luminescent thread with eye-tracking technology, responds to an onlooker’s gaze. In addition to Gao, there is British designer Amy Congdon, who looks to biological codes. She produced an eye-catching brooch comprised of acetate scales, silicone, embroidery, and crystals. Other designers’ works on display includes a mini skirt that changes color based on real-time audience input and a dress that shocks its wearer when she lies.