RISD artists redefine wearable technology with an emotional appeal
(above) ‘lumoscura smog mask’ by stephanie liu




as part of an interdisciplinary fashion and technology course at the rhode island school of design, students were asked to explore new aesthetics, narratives, and styles sourced from the latest high-tech materials accessible to an apparel designer. led by brian kane and catherine andreozzi, the young artists and designers investigated the emotional responses elicited by various styles of clothing and the unique, and often quite personal, interaction between wearer and wearable.


with a focus on the ever-expanding culture of body-based digitalism — where smartphones are always in pockets and watches can read through your emails — the students were challenged to create not only tech-centric couture, but more importantly, aesthetically significant pieces that connect to people on an emotional and humanistic level.

a pixelated garment made with vegetable tanned leather by whitney bai




each of the projects embody a thorough research and experimentation of body adornment and electronic components, whether through the use of additive manufacturing techniques, 3D printing, microelectronics, smart fabrics, or thermochromic inks.


amongst the final works is the ‘lumoscura smog mask’ by stephanie liu, a face shield that uses fiber optic filaments to create a feathering effect, softening the otherwise anxiety-inducing impression of these protective wearable products; a synesthesia-generating helmet by sara bdeir, which allows wearers to experience the physical phenomenon through a careful manipulation of the senses; and ‘virtual oasis’ by julia davids, which imagines a potential escape from a virtual reality-possessed world. the results reconsider the attitudes and effects of wearable technology through an artistic lens, altering the contemporary perception of digital apparel towards a more emotive and sensitive state.

a synesthesia-inducing helmet by sara bdeir

a skeletal appendage extends from the final garment by ka young jeong

‘PINK’ by jamall osterholm explores the negative space between individual beings

illuminating ‘transforming dress’ by ava yang

glowing headpiece by linda zabilkova

‘techno-orientalism’ by amelia zhang

‘virtual oasis’ by julia davids imagines the escape of virtual reality

plastic rings are knitted together using plastic zip ties in the garment by austin blanks

technology-infused boxing shirts by jules goguely

stoll-knitted knitwear with fiber optic LEDs by cristina sirbu & shou jie eng

a luminous dress by annice chen

athletic attire by michael moyal

illuminating technology is woven into the garment by salome yom

printed shoes by jacqueline zhao