adobe’s first completed interactive dress debuts at christian cowan’s runway in new york

adobe’s first completed interactive dress debuts at christian cowan’s runway in new york

Here comes adobe’s interactive dress, project primrose

 

Remember the real-life interactive Adobe dress called Project Primrose? The first-ever completed wearable garment hit its runway debut on February 11th, 2024 during the New York Fashion Week at Christian Cowan’s FW24 show. The interactive Adobe dress forms two parts: the upper consists of 1,264 laser-cut and handworked polymer dispersed liquid crystal petals that shift and flip their appearance as the model walks, and the lower composes 14 pieces of shiny stars, all of these share the same silver-like shade.

adobe interactive dress project primrose
images and video stills courtesy of Adobe and Christian Cowan

 

 

Hidden from plain sight, the interactive Adobe dress conceals a flexible printed circuit board under each column of petals to allow Project Primrose to alternate and shift between shades of gray and ivory. Adobe’s Research Scientist and Engineer TJ Rhodes along with Project Primrose co-developer Christine Dierk joined Christian Cowan in his New York studio to finish the first-ever interactive Adobe dress before it made its runway debut for his FW24 show. As Adobe explains, the design team used its in-house tools to make the fashion technology work.

adobe interactive dress project primrose
Adobe’s interactive dress Project Primrose hits its runway debut during Christian Cowan’s FW24 show

 

 

Adobe tools make project primrose work

 

Adobe’s own tools laid the groundwork for the design process. TJ Rhodes and Christian Cowan sat down and worked with Adobe Illustrator to map out the flexible printed circuit boards and petal positions and sketch the patterns of the alternating sequence. They turned to Adobe After Effects to animate the Project Primrose dress with motion graphics, giving it an interactive life. As the duo collaborated on the technology of the outfit, Christine Dierk and the fashion team sewed the laser-cut and handworked polymer dispersed liquid crystal petals and printed circuit boards into the interactive Adobe dress.

adobe interactive dress project primrose
the interactive Adobe dress has 1,264 laser-cut and handworked polymer dispersed liquid crystal petals

 

 

How did adobe’s interactive dress project primrose start?

 

Adobe’s interactive dress Project Primrose rose to fame after its debut during the Adobe MAX conference in October 2023. Christine Dierk presented the dress, stunning the audience as she demonstrated the shifting 1,182 sequin-like petals, sewn by hand. Since then, Adobe has told the backstory behind Project Primrose’s development, which circles back to 2013. It wasn’t a dress back then but a sweater that could change its appearance with the weather, which then evolved with the creation of Project Glasswing in 2017, a translucent box with a display that showcases animated designs in front of an object inside, such as sloshing water.

adobe interactive dress project primrose
the Project Primrose dress conceals a flexible printed circuit board under each column of petals

 

 

After the development of Project Glasswing, TJ Rhodes and Gavin Miller, Head of Adobe Research and one of the Primrose inventors, knew that they might face technological challenges to make an outfit work with animated design and on top of that, a lightweight and wearable one. This is when Christine Dierk stepped in, then a UC Berkeley graduate student and a summer intern at Adobe Research, whose know-how in wearable technology, textile, and hardware prototyping helped propel Project Primrose to a gradual real-life model.

adobe interactive dress project primrose
the interactive Adobe dress shifts between shades of gray and ivory

 

 

Knee-deep into the process, the Adobe Research team developed a handbag with Project Primrose’s moving petals to test its complex prototype since the handbag integrated curved surfaces. This allowed the team to tackle curves, bends, flexible fabric, and movement issues before they went back to realizing the interactive Adobe dress. They employed Adobe Illustrator to design a pattern that would accommodate the dress’ complicated electronics.

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making Adobe’s interactive dress in Christian Cowan’s NYC studio

The Adobe Research team also worked on a software pipeline so they could use Adobe After Effects and Illustrator to devise patterns and flows for the mechanical petals and translate them into code for the interactive dress. Constructing the outfit followed, a juggle between experimentation, electrical engineering, and textile work. The team hand-sewn 74 driver boards under the petals to run them and attached each of the 1,182 petals by hand in the exact right places to the dress.

adobe interactive dress project primrose
Christine Dierk sewing the flexible circuit board

 

 

After over a decade of dedication, research, and experimentation, Adobe’s interactive dress Project Primrose came to life and debuted as a real-life outfit in 2024 during Christian Cowan’s FW24 show in New York City. ‘With Primrose, traditional clothing, once static, can now be transformed into dynamic expressions of art and technology,’ says Gavin Miller to which Christine Dierk adds, ‘I hope the big takeaway is that fashion doesn’t have to be static—it can be dynamic and interactive. I hope it inspires people in technology and fashion design, and anyone who does making.’

 

adobe interactive dress project primrose
detailed view of the circuit board under Adobe’s interactive dress Project Primrose

adobe interactive dress project primrose
Adobe Illustrator and After Effects animate the Project Primrose dress

adobe interactive dress project primrose
the interactive dress rose to fame after its debut during the Adobe MAX conference in October 2023

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left to right: Christian Cowan and TJ Rhodes working on Project Primrose dress

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