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Wearable Inhabitable Structures

Protect yourself from all kinds of elements with architectural-inspired fashion.
December 12, 2011, 11:35pm

As innate structural forms, fashion and architecture go hand in hand. Famous buildings and monuments have informed textures, colors and even the way a designer might drape or use fabric, and we’ve seen the evolutions of these practices in the collections of fashion designers like Helmut Lang, Gianfranco Ferrè and Hussein Chalayan. Additionally, architects like Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas have been known to work closely with fashion houses like Chanel and Prada, helping to further establish the look of their brands through set designs as elaborate and expertly designed as the clothing.

Architects and fashion designers both have to think spatially and translate 2D blueprints into 3D actualities, but while architecture is (usually) constructed with the aim to last decades, fashion trends change at least twice a year, which makes sense because often times the more “timeless” fashions are the most structurally simple, classic and durable. Most importantly, fashion and architecture must be designed to protect.

What makes someone feel comfortable in their own skin relies heavily on the individual, but clothing’s most basic function is and always will be shelter—no matter how avant-garde the execution of the design. Fashion icon Daphne Guinness wears clothing like armor by incorporating spikes, hardware and shield-like bodices into her wardrobe—the next person may only be as comfortable in a fleece jacket.

We look to the following garments to look at how designers are using elements of architecture to make clothing that’s protective and durable. But at the same time, does being sheltered necessarily make one comfortable? We suppose, again, it might just depend on the wearer.

Lianna Sheppard: Tent / TTen

Imaginative fashion designer Lianna Sheppard borrows from other disciplines to actualize her various lines of 3D wearable sculptures. The Tent / TTen looks at how a tent can be deconstructed, dissected and reconstructed to serve as a wearable structure. We’re thinking Occupy Wall Street protestors could be pretty good models.

GAIA: Veasyble

Photo by Luca Nelli

Italian collective GAIA uses their Veasyble “privacy shells” to pinpoint the abstractions of isolation, intimacy and ornament. The cheeky, accordion-style sculptures are made from paper bonded to polyethylene and fabric, and include a modern twist on the Elizabethan collar, a hair accessory, face mask and handbag.

Laura Malinverni and Cora Belloto: GUSHO

Laura Malinverni and Cora Belloto designed a smart dress that reacts to radiation in the air. Developed with an Arduino, an RF sensor and a compressor, the bicycle tubes that help structure the dress inflate when radiation is detected, inflating to protect the body as a result. Much like Sue Ngo and Nien Lam’s Pollution-Detecting Sweatshirts, GUSHO is meant to shelter from environmental impurities.

Iris van Herpen and Daniel Widrig: Escapism

The architect and designer Daniel Widrig, who’s previously worked with Zaha Hadid, collaborated with fashion designer Iris van Herpen on her Escapism collection. The collection was 3D printed without any seams, creating strong, lightweight protective shields that are basically ready-to-wear armor.

Bart Hess: Echo

Netherlands-based cross-disciplinary artist Bart Hess looks at how architecture can transform the body’s facade through his conceptual Echo animation. Originally created for the National Glassmuseum in the Netherlands, Echo looks at the implications of humanoid shells, and is only slightly Kafka-esque.