'Seamless' show wired for success

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"Seamless," a fashion show organized by students, inspired by reality television and intended as a chic yet provocative collision of bodies, clothing and technology will erupt at the MIT Media Lab on Friday, May 20, at 8 p.m.

Seamless styles on view will include an inflatable dress, a shirt with sensors that provide a massage; resistor-studded pajamas; a wearable "human-interest meter"; and a skirt that doubles as a "playful exploration of femininity, domestication, and the predator/prey relationship," thanks to attached mechanical cat toys.

Media Lab graduate student Christine Liu and Nick Knouf organized Seamless, a.k.a. Computational Couture, with help from the MIT Council of the Arts and the MIT Media Lab.

"We were partly inspired by 'Project Runway,' the show on Bravo in which designers compete to create a collection and meet a deadline. We also wanted to give students an opportunity to be creative, a place to showcase and experiment with their ideas," Liu said.

The 18 designers were recruited through word of mouth and include students from MIT, Harvard, Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and Parsons School of Design in New York City. The entire effort was "completely grass roots," said Liu.

Liu and Knouf view the Seamless show as a comment on personal chic as well as social space, Liu said. In contrast to the Media Lab's 1997 Wearables fashion show, which was "all about augmentation of the self, this collection is more socially based, and the styles have more social implications," Liu said.

"Some fashions are designed to cause people to examine the disconnect that many feel in the electronically augmented society," Knouf said.

Clothing will be shown on runway models. Some Seamless projects will be displayed as artwork. Chris Csikszentmihalyi, the Benesse Career Development Professor of the Research in Education at the Media Lab, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Lars Blackmore, DJ, MIT Dance Mix Coalition, will provide the evening's mash-up music, and Alex French, E33 Productions, will provide lighting. Models are from John Casablancas and Ariana Paoletti and friends.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 18, 2005 (download PDF).

Topics: Media Lab, Students

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