Fashion X Technology: Ying Gao
The experimental fashion designer creates technology-driven clothing that responds to sounds, voices and human presence
Montreal-based fashion designer Ying Gao merges a poetry in craftsmanship with technological curiosity. After attending university at the Haute École d'arts Appliqués in Geneva, Switzerland and pursuing a Master's Degree in Multimedia at L'Université du Québec—where she currently holds a professor position—Gao has grown to focus her technically-charged efforts on merging clothing with technology. All in the hopes of capturing the elusive elements of nature. Gao explains, "I like to think that my garments are not gadgets, but rather design objects that have been extensively reflected upon and have a conceptual and aesthetic 'life' corresponding to their technological mission."
A multi-disciplinary designer, Gao examines the interactive quality of clothing in response to different environments. "I would prefer to leave experimental objects in their experimental state—I believe those objects are a part of ourselves," she says. For one of her latest creations, "Incertitudes 2," Gao was inspired by the sounds a dressmaker's pins make when moved on a fitting mannequin. The technology-driven garments were the result of a collaboration with interactive artist Simon Laroche, who came on to design the robotics. The sound-activated garments are comprised of metallic pins that move with a curious sense of fluidity in response to ambient noise or voices.
Gao further explores motion with "(No)where (Now)here 1," a photo-luminescent dress interlaced with eye-tracking technology. Influenced by Paul Virilio’s essay The Aesthetic of Disappearance, "(No)where (Now)here 1" explores the interplay between presence and absence as the imbedded technology responds to a spectator’s gaze. "The intangibles as air, sound and light have always inspired me and will continue to do so," she says, "Technology has been—and will always remain—a tool to demonstrate my metaphorical ideas."
Images courtesy of Ying Gao