This Exquisite Wearable Has a Life of its Own

Architect Behnaz Farahi and fashion designer Pauline van Dongen's 'Ruff' is a life-like wearable that snakes around the neck.

Mar 13 2015, 10:15pm

Images courtesy the artists. GIF by Becky Chung

What if our clothes were a little more lifelike? To answer that question, architect Behnaz Farahi and fashion designer Pauline van Dongen collaborated on Ruff, a 3D-printed responsive wearable that appears to “crawl” across the wearer’s body. Today, the team is presenting their project at SXSW to show how 3D-printed fashion can be used to augment the body.

Although the designers found traditional 3D printing materials either too rigid or too fragile, when they tested different spring-like formations, they found that they could construct flexible structures. They decided on “the form of a folded coil or spiral that could move with the movement of the body.” Farahi and van Dongen named the piece Ruff after the frilled collar that was an integral part of Elizabethan and Jacobean costume.

Farahi, who’s also previously worked on a 3D-printed headpiece that morphs according to brainwaves, believes that the future of wearables—what she refers to as “near environments”—involves gear that will be almost indistinguishable from the body. “[Wearables] will become more and more integrated with our bodies to the point that it will become an extension to our bodies as a second skin,” she tells The Creators Project. “Just as our skin can respond to various internal and external stimuli so too our outfits would do the same in the future and be able to define various social issues such as intimacy, privacy, gender and identity.”

See Ruff breathe in director Nicolas Cambier's short video below: 

Ruff from Nicolas Cambier on Vimeo.

The process:


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