“The future of clothing as we know it is about to change. To be a part of this change we need technology.” ~ Tuba ÇetinThe butterfly effect. In the chaos theory, this is used to explain how a small event –such as a butterfly flapping its wings – can lead to much larger consequences. So sisters and designing duo Ezra and Tuba Çetin chose a butterfly inspired dress as their pièce de résistance for their opening fashion show for their 2015 collection called ‘Beginning’ in Istanbul for Fashionist. The collection, which consisted of specially weaved fabrics and silks with gem embroidery details, featured pieces that were designed and then reinterpreted using technology. However, the butterfly dress held more significance as it stood as a metaphor of technology being the butterfly effect that the fashion industry needs to go through in its metamorphosis to embrace the future.
The Istanbul-based Turkish designers and sisters are no strangers to fashion. In fact, their family owns a textile company and probably played a major inspiration for them going to design school and eventually launching their Ezra+Tuba brand in 2003. Having already entered the European market, showcasing in fashion capitals such as Milan, Paris and Barcelona, these creatives definitely had to push the envelope to keep their brand growing.Enter Intel. With their tech and the sisters ‘design style’, the idea to create a dress equipped with 40 moving butterflies was born, and beautifully brought to life. This creation falls into the mechanized fashion category of wearable technology because, as seen in the video above, the butterflies slowly flap their wings. The interesting twist is that they increase their flapping speed when someone approaches the wearer. If that wasn’t cool enough, they can launch into flight when the dress’ inbuilt proximity sensor is triggered by the approaching person or through communication from a mobile device; you know, if you ever needed that grand entrance. [I wouldn’t be surprised if this became the next hottest bridal trend since the bird cage]. This was explained by a software development engineer at Intel Labs Europe, Çağrı Tanrıöver, who worked with Ezra+Tuba to find a way to integrate the Intel Edison compute module technology into the design. The wearable aspect was an integral aspect for the designers, as they wanted to create an improved quality of life for the wearer but still retaining the right to looking fashionable; a direction that mechanized fashion seems to be heading in. Come to think of it, mechanized fashion seems to be popping up more often in modern fashion projects. Especially in recent prototypes and products in athletics gear which is doing everything from sensing sweat and reading body stats, to boosting the athlete’s performance. But we’re also seeing a lot of pieces, such as the spider dress or incertitudes dress by Gao, that want to play a part in protecting the wearer during human interaction. Check out the incertitudes here. With all these advancements, the modern consumer is more aware about the world around them and actively seeking more happiness and comfort in their quality of life. The sister duo may have been born in the world of fashion, and have had the chance to work with power house brands such as Victoria’s Secrets, but they have found a way to find balance and an authentic difference to make them stand out. They still stay true to their traditions that influence their design such as the Seljuk-era attire and Anatolian cultural inspiration in their clothes. But they are adapting their designs to incorporate smart materials and wearable technology that would essentially help the wearer. Or as they put it in an interview with the Daily Sabah, “[w]hat we believe is that this innovative concept will break the vicious cycle that exists in the fashion world. A new era will begin in which performance and comfort will surpass traditional form. Design and fashion do require technology, but technology also needs design and fashion.” For designers on the continent, the question becomes, are you doing market research to create products that have the potential to meet your consumers’ needs in a faster and easier way?