A cloak-like covering, Apparel has two incarnations: a polygonal computer model and its real-world counterpart. By manipulating the virtual version using a range of parameters, then viewing the physical garment through a camera on a computer screen, the user is able to visualize the changes in real time.

By manipulating a computer model, the user is able to visualize the changes on the physical garment in real time.

Although the Normals plan to pursue all manner of “future scenarios and hypothetical objects,” Clément Chalubert, Aurélien Michon, and Cédric Flazinski are particularly interested in the idea of fashion as an expression of individuality. “Apparel explores how online representation (profiles, avatars, etc.) meets real-world representation, a.k.a fashion, and for that matter, any object meant to display one’s individuality in public,” they tell Ecouterre. “We like to talk about the notion of ‘wearing one’s own avatar.'”

Since Apparel and programs like it make it possible to dress nearly anything digitally, they raise a number of intriguing intriguing questions that challenge our traditional notions of consumption. “What will be the point of fabricating the same objects in multiple colors and shapes if you can simply display anything you want over them and change every 5 seconds?,” they ask. “The big question that lies for designers is: what happens when you make the aesthetics of your products dynamic. Do you keep on displaying augmented dragons? Or do you try and make new technologies socially relevant?”

“There’s a big chance your next evening dress will be a 3D computer template,” Normals says.

While the group has no immediate plans for a large commercial release, they are open to creating limited, customized editions. Eventually, a version of Apparel may turn up as a mobile application, one that harnesses a smartphone’s camera to display a three-dimensional object that morphs with information gathered from its environment.

“Things are already transforming quickly,” the group adds. “We’re only here to open a debate and tell you there’s a big chance your next evening dress will be a 3D computer template.”

+ Normals