Will you be wearing ‘smart clothes’?

April 19, 2013

The Acrobat Dress is a transformative garment from a speculative collection of dresses known as Karma Chameleon, created by Concordia University’s Joanna Berzowska (credit: Ronald Borshan)

The Shoulder Dress collection shows garments in their multiple stages, low and high energy, enabled by future fibers and transformative textiles (credit: Ronald Borshan)

Computerized fabrics that change their color and shape in response to movement are being developed by Joanna Berzowska, professor and chair of the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University.

The interactive electronic fabrics harness power directly from the human body, store that energy, and then use it to change the garments’ visual properties.
“Our goal is to create garments that can transform in complex and surprising ways. That’s why the project is called Karma Chameleon,” says Berzowska.
The fibers consist of multiple layers of polymers, which, when stretched and drawn out to a small diameter, begin to interact with each other.
“We won’t see such garments in stores for another 20 or 30 years, but the practical and creative possibilities are exciting,” says Berzowska.
Berzowska will present her findings at the Smart Fabrics 2013 conference April 17–19 in San Francisco and in an exhibit to be held at the PHI Centre in Montreal next year.
The Karma Chameleon project was funded by a Research Creation grant from the federal government’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada/Canada Council for the Arts (NSERC/CCA) New Media Initiative.