Something Completely Visionary: Fashion, Tech, Innovation: UVW & XYZ

Armed with our initial vision of a base garment that could essentially play videos or images on its surface, let’s explore some of the challenges that need to be addressed before this could become reality.

Last time we looked at possible power sources for such a garment, including bettery textiles and other possible sources of power.  This time, let’s look at how a video playback garment might be actually work.

The human body is a 3-dimensional object, where we occupy a certain volume of space.  The space we occupy is defined by Cartesian coordinates, X, Y, and Z.  Cartesian coordinates begin at a ‘center point’, the precise placement of which is usually predetermined as a standard.  For most body scanners, the X, Y, and Z axes are oriented so the scanned figure stands on the XY plane (the floor), and the Z axis extends vertically from the feet to the top of the head, so that X = the width of the body from side to side, Y = depth, from front to back, and Z = height from the ground to the top of the head.

This is the sort of stuff that can make your brain explode but it’s also important, because in developing a video garment, the designer will need to be able to create a flat, 2-dimensional image (texture) which can be mapped to the X, Y, Z coordinates of the human body.

That flat, 2-dimensional image is also called a U, V, W map, where U maps to X coordinates, V maps to Y coordinates, and W maps to Z coordinates.  A designer needs to understand the ‘high points’ of the human body (e.g., the point of bust, shoulder, hip, and so on) so that as she develops a flat image to play on the video surface, she can begin adjusting the image in such a way to make sure the image wraps itself onto the video garment correctly, which will then, we hope wrap itself around the human body in such a way that it is both attractive, and yes, flattering.

And this is where the fun of it all comes in because at this point, the designer can begin to really play with her art.  Years of couture experience have taught us how to fool the eye with seam and trim placement; a good couturiere can make her client look 20 pounds lighter, and certainly feel like a princess. Imagine then, if you will, a couture designer being able to simply and easily create digital images that play on the video garments that allow their wearer to have access to the skills of the couturiere and to have their ‘off the rack’ digital designs easily adapted for their unique bodies.

Nest time, we delve in further to the importance of the avatar in developing for a video garment.

Runway 3.0 Videos

And finally, videos of the Runway 3.0 senior collections, with Missy’s collection at 1:50 and 1:53, and Britt’s collection at 4:18-5:07.  The physical collection are shown in the foreground, with the avatar models strutting their stuff on the LED screen behind the catwalk models.

Lights, Camera, Action! Runway 3.0 Models Take the Catwalk Take 2

We worked with Brittany Chonka, one of our student interns, over the last two semesters  helping her develop her physical and her virtual collections.  All of this effort culminated at Runway 3.0, with hercollection shown on both the physical catwalk with her avatar models walking the big screen behind her live models.

After Missy’s demi-collection, which was shown earlier in the event, Britt’s collection closed the group of senior collections with her collection of six pieces.  Britt used an array of materials, including lace, leather, taffeta, suede, fur, and fiberoptics.  Inspired by the steampunk and neo-Victorian trends, Brittany’s work incorporated special buckles as her closeures and had a decidedly theatrical feel.

Britt’s work is shown here, both on the physical Runway 3.0 catwalk and on the Virtual Runway™ catwalk.