Interactive Fashion Designer Ying Gao Creates Voice Activated Fabric

A radical new innovation in wearable design drops just in time for New York Fashion Week.

In addition to cars, digital personal assistants and garage doors, there's a new innovation that's been made voice-activated: only this one we can actually wear. Incertitudes : sound activated clothing by Montreal based designer Ying Gao was introduced to the fashion world at large this week, and features a unique fabric created to respond to the human voice. Through the motion of specially crafted pins built to detect surrounding frequencies, the garments are (according to the press release) meant to "engage the spectator on a conversational level, which is filled with misunderstanding(s) and uncertainty."

Also responsible for the gaze activated dresses we covered in June, Gao is pioneering a new field of tech-inspired fabric that is actually incredibly wearable: just as likely to be seen at a TED talk as on a runway.

Utilizing PVDF plastic, dressmaker pins, and electronic devices, the metallic fabric fringe is able to sense and respond to the wearer's voice. Interacting with its environment, the motion generated by sound creates a wave-like ripple in the garment, causing it to contract and expand the entire outfit. In essense, the creation of an article of clothing that is literally meant to be a conversation piece.

According to Gao:

“The less foreseeable the future, the more we need to be mobile, flexible, ready to react, permanently prepared to change, supermodern, more modern than the moderns of the heroic period.” (LipovetskyLes temps hypermodernes, 2004, ) Individuals are pressured by time and technical innovation; they live in a divided present with an uncertain future. They exist in a transitory state, always on-the-go out of fear of “missing the boat”, and believing that they are never in the right place at the right time. A hypermodern individual is a being of the here-and-now, pressured by a logic of urgency, and worried about the future."

For those curious, the project will be on show at the New York Fashion Week OPENING CEREMONY BTW exhibit at Super Pier, Sept  5 - 12; Madrid Fashion Week, September 17; Centre de design UQAM Montreal, November 14 - December 15; Textile Museum of Canada spring 2014.

All images via Ying Gao