To Inspire Social Distancing, This Designer Merges Computers And Couture : NPR


The “Pangolin Wearing apparel” by Anouk Wipprecht.

Yanni de Melo





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Yanni de Melo

The “Pangolin Dress” by Anouk Wipprecht.

Yanni de Melo

Would you wear a dress that signals to people that they’re standing too close to yous?

Or how most a shirt that changes color when it senses a change in your mood?

Those are actual creations Dutch fashion designer and engineer Anouk Wipprecht has been working on for 20 years.

Her distinctive “fashion tech” designs combine couture, interactive engineering science and artificial intelligence.

“And so, on a day I am coding and designing, I am sewing and anything and everything that has to do with the trunk and technology and electronics,” Wipprecht told
Morning Edition.

How it started

Growing up in holland, she was influenced by American culture subsequently watching MTV in the 90s.

“I was really fascinated by the notion that the people really express themselves through basically the things that they wearable,” she remembers.

When she was 14 years old, she started making women’s clothing. By 17, while in style school, she started to feel a bit unfulfilled.

“I started to notice that the garments that I was creating were ‘analog’. They were non doing anything. They were non sensory. They were not changing. “

Then, she decided to create something she’d never seen. She began designing with microcontrollers, robotics, and minor motors.

“And that’due south really made it complete for me.”

How it’s going

One of her most notable designs is aptly named “The Spider Apparel.”

On the shoulders of the clothes, there are long spider-like tentacles that move with the assistance of sensors. “Information technology measures the intimate space, the personal space, the social space and the public infinite of the wearer,” she explains.

“Whenever somebody comes into the personal infinite, it’s attacking considering of the mechanical failure sense that the dress has.”

That 3D printed design, which now has several iterations, has been worn by models and displayed around the U.S and the world, including China, Russian federation and Amsterdam.

When COVID hit, Wipprecht borrowed some of the artful from her Spider creation and designed the “Proximity Dress,” which she hoped would help people ameliorate understand how to socially altitude.


The “Proximity Dress” which expands to reinforce social distancing when someone gets too close.

Jeff Cacossa





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Jeff Cacossa

The “Proximity Dress” which expands to reinforce social distancing when someone gets as well close.

Jeff Cacossa

This white dress looks unassuming, but uses ultrasonic range finders that allow it to puff up or inflate when someone gets nearly. Wipprecht wore information technology at a park in Miami where she lives.

The interactive outfit, which she called a “very elegant fashion to use sensors,” helped people get the point — to give each other space.

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Courtesy of Anouk Wipprecht


Her designs are conversation starters. And could even assistance people talk over tough topics.

Correct now, she’south being deputed to piece of work on several vesture prototypes that visually mensurate things like feet and depression.

“Nosotros live in a time and age that’southward sort of the negative emotions showtime to take over, Wipprecht explains. “A lot of people beginning getting into more depressive style, maybe not wanting to speak about information technology and all of that stuff. And so, it might even create a state of affairs that these things go more discussable.”

This story originally appeared on the
Morning Edition
alive blog.

To Inspire Social Distancing, This Designer Merges Computers And Couture : NPR

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