Fashion designer Ying Gao’s Playtime collection consists of dresses made with sensors and software underneath that can tell when a camera is focused on the wearer.
Shielding their faces from paparazzi’s lens is the mode du jour for celebrities, hoping to avoid getting their photo taken. But designer Ying Gao, professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal has a different proposition. Gao created a pair of diaphanous dresses that protect its wearer from a camera’s gaze by thwarting the resulting image.
One dress, which is seemingly soft and fluid, begins to change shape, thanks to an underlying motor mechanism, so that the resulting picture ends up blurry. The second dress has inbuilt lights, which causes overexposure when the camera’s flash goes off. The dresses are cleverly built with a structure of microprocessors, sensors, motors, and lights hidden under the delicate fabric. The sensors pick up when a camera flashes to begin reacting. Gao tells Wired:
When one attempts to capture an image of the dress, using a photo or video camera the garment transforms and fragments, it deconstructs and becomes soft and vague, unfocused.
Apropos for a time when we are becoming more concerned about privacy and surveillance, Gao’s dresses are not made for production but make a statement about the current socio-political climate.