ANOUK WIPPRECHT: The Emperor’s new clothes

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Anouk  Wipprecht belongs to a new generation of hi tech designers who utilise  technology to re-invent fashion design. After studying fashion design for ten years Wipprecht says she began to develop a growing interest in interactive design. This led her to take a course “Body Fashion and Technology” at a Swedish University which in turn led her to her interest in developing  innovative clothing. The result has been designs that appeal as much to the techies as they  do to fashion groups.

According to Wipprecht the garments she creates  breathe  and react to the environment around them.

Projects such as  her Intimacy (garments which become transparent)  and Pseudomorphs (self painting dresses) designs  reflect her experimentation with fashion and technology.

The Intimacy design involves a project that straddles the world of fashion, wearable technology and the electronic arts.  The design entails a set of garments that become transparent when in proximity to each other.

These hi tech garments are made using wireless, interactive technologies and smart foils that become transparent when electrified. The distance between a spectator and the garment determines the garments’ level of transparency. The dress responds to flashlight so that if a photographer takes a picture of the dress, it becomes fully transparent.

The intimacy dress series has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions. It has also been featured in technology publications such as Wired.

Attracting interest for limited edition high end of town fashion labels, Intimacy is a series of fashion pieces that looks as if it will keep on evolving.  Worth keeping an eye on this project.

The Pseudomorphs design involves a system that lets dresses paint themselves. This design, like the Intimacy concept, works on the theme of transformation, this time using the  properties of moving liquids.  The neckpiece of the garment is controlled through a pressure and control system with pneumatic control valves that allow ink to be pumped through the tubes and into the design. The electronics are powered by a small battery.

In June this year, Wipprecht worked in collaboration with Bea Akerlund co- designing a hi-tech LED embedded stage suit that was worn by Fergie when she performed at the  Super Bowl 2011.  Wipprecht says that aimed to make  the design of the stage outfit an ‘American Football-inspired’ theme.  She also collaborated with Rene van den Berg to create the hi tech shoes Fergie wore at the event. The result was a fabulous outfit which Fergie was reportedly delighted with.

Wipprecht says there are more entertainment client projects in the pipeline but she can’t talk about them at this stage.