MONTREAL, Mar 1, 2010 / FW/ — A professor at the Université du Quebec a Montreal, fashion designer Ying Gao not only disproves the saying, “those who can’t, teach” but also shows that technology and fashion can truly complement each other.
Armed with a degree in fashion design and a Master’s in multi-media, Ying Gao brought the ancient Chinese art of paper folding “zhezhi” to a 21st century audience by creating unique garments that can assume variable shapes and respond to touch, air movement and proximity.
Exhibited in museums in different parts of the world under the titles “Walking City” and “Living Pod”, Ying Gao’s highly conceptual garments include a gray and white cocktail dress decorated with 3-D roses that move when touched, thanks to hidden electronic sensors.
The sensors actually make mechanical sounds when they start working, the sound being part of the presentation.
“I don’t want people to think that it’s magic. I want them to know that there is a micro machine behind the movement,” Ying Gao explained when asked if the sound can be eliminated, which of course it could be but since it was part of the design, it would stay.
A new garment that Ying Gao was working on during our visit in her laboratory at the Université du Quebec a Montreal was a ruffled cocktail dress which was inspired by the idea of air as a material for the a garment.
In this new creation, the ruffles in the dress move even change shape when air is blown to it! Again, a series of small electronic devices that is hidden at the back of the dress make the movement possible.
When asked if these clothes can be worn by a person as they are designed, Ying Gao said yes, but she the artist in her just won’t allow it.
“These clothes are highly conceptual, and should stay that way,” Ying Gao explained. To the designer cum professor, there is no compromise between high concept and ready-to-wear though she believes that there is a link between them.
“The silhouettes can be translated into something wearable,” Ying said. And to make a point, she took a piece of fabric that had been folded into a trellis and put it on herself, proving that it is can be worn.
“Currently, I am making a ready-to-wear collection that is based on the ‘Walking City’ and “Living Pod’ pieces which I plan to show next year,” Ying Gao said as she gestured with her hand, pointing to unfinished garments that were hanging or on lying on the table that will soon be her Fall 2011 collection.
Photos by Mari Davis