Wynnie Chung and Emily Lp (left) with wedding dressEmily Ip (left) and co-designer Wynnie Chung with the wedding dress they created that lights up to reveal the wearer's emotions.

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Wedding dress shows bride’s emotions

February 14, 2013
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Wynnie Chung, a School for Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) student and SFU grad co-designer Emily Ip have created a silkspun wedding dress that can reveal a bride’s emotions with blinking lights and pulsating fabric flowers.

The pair unveiled the dress, dubbed Wo.Defy, at SFU Surrey’s SIAT annual showcase Feb. 8. The interactive kinetic garment is modeled after the traditional Chinese wedding dress. Its designers call it a “wearable story” that uncovers a woman’s inner emotional journey.

The idea was inspired by a group of 20th century Chinese women known as the Self-Combing Sisters, suffragettes who lived in the southern Canton province of China and challenged the marital, economic and cultural roles of women.

Motivated by the suffragettes’ determination and stance toward self-advocacy and self-sufficiency, Ip says Wo.Defy investigates “the notion of intrapersonal ambivalence, resulting from cultural tensions that emerge when new beliefs confront thousand-year-old traditions.” Human hair is also metaphorically incorporated within the garment.

The design, stitched entirely by hand, produces physical kinetic “contractions” based on the wearer’s physiological breathing patterns and kinetic sensor motions. When the heart rate increases and muscles contract, tiny LED lights strung through the gown blink, while sewn flowers pulsate.

The project was showcased at TEI’13, the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference, in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 10-13.

Previously, Ip created enVella, a protection-themed dress that envelops the wearer when heart rate increases.

Other SIAT showcase projects ranged from a variety of prototypes and digital applications to animation and art performances. Judging panels were comprised of industry professionals, faculty members and alumni. The top three competed for a spot in the SIAT magazine Dejine and a $500 cash prize.

To watch a video of the Wo.Defy dress, visit http://at.sfu.ca/MknoVE; to see the SIAT showcase winners visit http://at.sfu.ca/taosre.

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