As the internet continues to change the landscape of 21st-century society, more and more designers are looking to translate its potential into wearable garments. The latest example of this is Nayana Malhotra, whose label Neurocouture presented its AW16 collection as part of VFiles’ show at New York Fashion Week.
The initial idea behind the collection was to “wear the Internet”, a theme which appeared in the show through oversized white ponchos emblazoned with moving GIFs. Speaking backstage, Malhotra elaborated on her choice. “The graphic and repetitive nature of the GIF makes it a beautiful, ever growing tool. It’s a living piece of content and a cultural object at the same time.” The cultural element was definitely there – the chosen GIFs ranged from the “Sad Frog” meme through to an endlessly revolving projection of Donald Trump’s face.
The designer also incorporated consumer-grade EEG devices, which monitor factors ranging from the models’ emotions through to their body temperature. These factors then alter the appearance of the projections, resulting in a collection which is responsive in a way that wearable technology rarely is. These fluctuations created an element of unpredictability; “the collection is going to kind of respond to the models and, as they change, as their emotions rise and fall, it’ll respond to them.”
Despite a lengthy research process and high price point, Malhotra is keen to emphasise the potential of wearable technology which adapts to the world around it. “Neurocouture is an idea. The applications within fashion are immense. Synchronising this to projection, LEDs, flex displays and motorised clothing can open the doors to unimaginable fashion.”