The Iranian-American designer Behnaz Farahi has created a new 3D printed garment that responds to the gaze much like our skin does. While your skin blushes under an appreciative look or gets goosebumps when a creep stares at you blatantly, Farahi’s ‘Caress of the Gaze’ bristles under the human gaze and changes shape.
Caress of the Gaze appears to be woven out of porcupine-quill like stuff and resembles an exposed midriff smock. Farahi designed the responsive garment during her residency at Autodesk Pier 9. She explained her inspiration for the design of Caress of the Gaze:
“It was inspired by looking at the behaviour and properties of skin. The idea was to create an artificial skin inspired by nature, with enhanced functionality, which could function as an extension of our actual skin, while providing novel forms of interaction between our body and the surrounding environment.”
An embedded facial tracking algorithm in the garment enables it to shrink and mutate under the gaze. The algorithm can track the orientation of stare of the person as well as accurately guess the age and gender of the onlooker. The Shape Memory Alloy then causes the garment to ripple slightly in response.
Shape Memory Alloy remembers its original shape and responds according to the gaze like; e.g. it will shrink under a judgmental look or will flaunt under an appreciative stare.
Farahi chose the ‘gaze’ of an observer as the actuating mechanism to underline the significance of a ‘look’ in our social life.
Caress of the Gaze seeks to call attention to how our skin reacts to different types of stares.
“To me, the future of fashion lies in the promise of being dynamic and interactive with the wearer. Wearable technologies are changing our notion of what our bodies can do, allowing them to be augmented, enhanced, and expanded.”
The garment has a lot of distinct movable parts, so it would have been impossible to create it without the 3D printing technology. Farahi believes that 3D printing technology will transform the face of fashion in future.
“I think advanced 3D printing will enable us to move [in fashion] beyond just imitating forms already present in nature, to having a deeper understanding of their behaviours.”
You can see the Caress of the Gaze as it responds to the onlooker’s stare in this video: