There's An App For That Shirt! is an augmented reality fashion show. The performance debuted initial prototypes for appARel, an augmented reality fashion collection and app created by R.S.I., my collaboration with Ben Chang and Silvia Ruzanka. Augmented reality (AR) is a technology for adding virtual computer-generated objects into the real world. Performers wear garments with prints serving as visual markers for an AR system. Audience views the performers through smartphones running an AR app that augments and transforms the garments with 3D animations.
In appARel, new fashion "looks" are downloaded through blasts sent out to the audience's devices during the live event. My textile designs for appARel feature paisleys, endowing an ancient textile motif with a new raison d'être: the appARel app recognizes the paisleys as AR markers, and uses them to instigate digital transformations and bodily morphing.
From one perspective, AR fashion promises to unleash designers' creativity, enabling increasingly flexible and fluid forms of fashion that can surpass the limitations of physical materials. More cynically, by combining software and smart devices together with couture, appARel couples smartphone cultures of distraction with fashion's accelerated consumer circuits. In allowing the style of an outfit to be updated with a software refresh, appARel further hastens the fashion industry's imperative for perpetual reinvention.