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Would you wear a dress that signals people that they are standing too close to you?

Or how about a shirt that changes color when it detects a change in mood?

These are real creations on which the Dutch fashion designer and engineer Anouk Wipprecht has been working for 20 years.

Yanni de Mélo

The “Pangolin Dress” by Anouk Wipprecht

His distinctive “fashion technology” creations combine tailoring, interactive technology and artificial intelligence.

“So one day when I code and design, I sew and everything that has to do with the body, technology and electronics,” Wipprecht said. Morning edition.

Check it out

How it started

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

“I was really fascinated by the idea that people really express themselves through the things they wear,” she recalls.

When she was 14, she started making clothes for women. At 17, while in fashion school, she started to feel a little dissatisfied.

“I started to notice that the clothes I was making were ‘analog’. They weren’t doing anything. They weren’t sensory. They weren’t changing.”

So she decided to create something she had never seen. She started designing with microcontrollers, robotics and small motors.

“And that really made it complete for me.”

How’s it going


Jeff Cacossa

Anouk Wipprecht models his “spider dress” which, with the help of long spider-shaped tentacles, reacts to movement.

One of his most remarkable creations is aptly named “The Spider Dress”.

On the shoulders of the dress there are long spider-shaped tentacles that move with the help of sensors. “It measures the intimate space, the personal space, the social space and the public space of the wearer,” she explains.

“Every time someone enters personal space, they attack because of the feeling of mechanical failure the dress has.”

This 3D printed design, which now has multiple iterations, has been worn by models and displayed in the United States and around the world, including China, Russia and Amsterdam.

When COVID hit, Wipprecht borrowed some of the aesthetics from her Spider creation and designed the “closeness dress,” which she hoped would help people better understand how to distance themselves socially.

the "Proximity dress", which stretches to strengthen social distancing when someone gets too close.

Jeff Cacossa

The “closeness dress” that gets bigger to reinforce social distancing when someone gets too close.

This white dress looks unpretentious, but uses ultrasonic range finders that allow it to inflate or inflate when someone approaches. Wipprecht carried it to a park in Miami where she lives.

The interactive outfit, which she called a “very stylish way to use sensors,” helped people understand: to give each other space.

The proximity dress in action

courtesy of Anouk Wipprecht

His creations are conversation starters. And might even help people discuss difficult topics.

Currently, she’s tasked with working on several wearable prototypes that visually measure things like anxiety and depression.

“We live in a time and a time when negative emotions are starting to take over,” explains Wipprecht. “A lot of people start to get into a more depressed mode, maybe not wanting to talk about it and stuff. So that might even create a situation where these things become more questionable.”


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