Anouk Wipprecht is not your average fashion designer. Her pieces go beyond fabric and stitches, and into the realm of exoskeletal 3D printing and microcontrollers, bringing garment and wearer together into a united cyborgian being. At FITC Toronto, I sat down with Anouk to discuss her path to becoming a world-famous robotic fashion designer, her opinions on open source, and her latest project: a connected unicorn horn for children with autism.
At 14, Anouk began designing couture fashion. She wanted to create pieces that evoked feeling and allowed the wearer to express themselves. At 16 she realized she could make her pieces even more expressive by adding microcontrollers and making them actually come to life! Now she is a world-renowned robotic couture designer and has built incredible creations for companies like Audi, Intel, Microsoft, and Cirque du Soleil.
“The garments I was making were analogue…I wanted to make them electronic.”
Anouk’s past creations include a spider-inspired dress, which responds when others enter the wearer’s personal space, a high beam dress made from Audi car parts, and a literal cocktail dress that makes cocktails! Greatly inspired by animals, Anouk’s work explores a codependency between technological systems and the human body, and often uses sensors to allow the robotic elements to react to and interact with the wearer’s surroundings.
Anouk’s latest creation is a connected unicorn horn designed to help children with autism learn how to handle situations that make them uncomfortable. Equipped with electrodes to measure brain signal, as well as a camera to record trigger events, the unicorn horn is truly an example of an empowering innovation. Anouk uses the playful aspect of her work to make the younger wearers feel more comfortable and allow her to get what she calls “genuine data” – only achievable when the child is being themselves.
Watch the full interview (part 1 above and 2 below) to hear what inspired these creations, how they work, and Anouk’s advice for how you can get started making robotic fashion of your own!
Special thank you to Anouk for this interview! Check out her creations on her site: anoukwipprecht.nl
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