This project was a response to the notion that women need to cover themselves and avoid “distracting men.” There are two layers to the piece, a modest outer layer consisting of the hood, jacket, and skirt; and a more “revealing” layer underneath consisting of the crop top and leggings. When the hood is removed, the light sensor is expose to light and signals the EL panel on the chest to light up. When the jacket is removed, the EL wire on the waist lights up. When the skirt is removed, the EL wire on the leggings light up. The idea is that the outfit rewards the wearer for “stripping away” the modest layer. This project was not intended to be a useful gadget but rather a statement piece that celebrates the liberation of the female body.
Everything that I wanted to do with the project successfully happened, so I’m overall please. I created everything from scratch, making my own patterns and sewing the entire outfit. I programmed the lights almost 100% on my own, which was probably what I felt most proud of. I am happy I experimented with EL panels and wires, but was slightly disappointed with how dull the wires were in the daylight. Although this is what I wanted to do, I wish I did something more intriguing, technology-wise. Yes the computer science aspect was complicated enough for a first-timer like me, but now that I’ve accomplished that, I am eager to do something more complex.
I also wish I could have made the outfit more wearable/comfortable. The circuit board would be pretty uncomfortable on the back skin, so installing a lining would definitely be worthwhile. Also, finding a better battery for any of these projects would be worth looking in to. It seems like many of us students struggled to find either a battery that was strong enough or a battery that lasted long enough or a battery that was discrete, or all of the above. I think it would be interesting to investigate a way to make such outfits self-powering, either through movement or solar power.