In the fall, less light and cooler temperatures signals trees its time to shed leaves to prepare for winter. Inspired by the annual defoliation, Birce Özkan designed a brilliant dress that mimics that phenomenon using wearable technology. Fall is sexy little dress outfitted with arduino controls that release leaves of fabric when the dress is exposed to less light. Fall foliage colored fabric bits gracefully fall to the floor when ‘winter’ arrives.

Birce Özkan is a fashion tech designer, who recently finished her MFA Design and Technology at Parsons the New school for Design. For her thesis project, she developed an interactive garment that mimics nature’s responsive systems through hidden electronic mechanism. Özkan wanted to mimic defoliation, that is, every fall when trees shed their leaves to conserve energy for the winter time. Her dress, named Fall, sheds small pieces of fabric when the light fades, just like trees do, except with the help of wearable technology.

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Fall is made up of a series of brightly colored fabric pieces layered from the bottom up. The colors mimic traditional shades of fall foliage in a gradient from brown to orange. Each ‘leaf’ is attached via a small glob of melted wax to a steel wire looped around the dress. Arduino micro and servo motors are attached to the wires. Then as light fades, the controllers tighten the steel wires, causing the leaves to break free and fall down.

“The garment that I created a piece of wearable technology that is inspired by nature and changes in response to its environment,” explains Özkan. “I used mimicry to capture the beauty of falling leaves and I believe that the piece will make audiences appreciate the natural world.” Fall is meant as an expressive garment that interacts with its environment and draws people’s attention.

+ Fall

+ Birce Özkan