Tag Archives: Birce Özka

This interactive dress is inspired by autumn trees


Fall is an interactive garment that mimics nature’s responsive systems. 


In what would appear to be a costume straight out of a Lady Gaga or Katy Perry music video, Fall is an interactive dress that is inspired by nature’s seasonal occurrence of trees losing their leaves. The brainchild of Birce Özkan, the Maker specifically designed her foliage-colored piece to mimic the b uilt-in system of trees as they shed their leaves as a result of surrounding environmental factors.

“My thesis project was evolved around the questions, What if when the temperature got hot suddenly, our clothes would start to break apart in response? What if they had the skill to behave depending on the surrounding conditions? What if garments had the ability to sense the environment just like living organisms? Those questions let me find the purpose for my thesis,” Özkan explains.

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“In the fall, as the days shorten, and the temperature gets colder, the trees, without the light they need to sustain their chlorophyll, shed their leaves to keep their energy to survive for the winter ahead. This process was the inspiration for creating my garment’s mechanism. To prepare for the fall of leaves, trees activate ‘scissor cells’ that split to create a bumping layer that forces the leaves out of place, destabilizing them so that they fall,” the Maker writes.

This process led Özkan to devise her own garment’s mechanism by using light from a simulated environment that would activate the outfit’s embedded Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4), Adafruit Lux Sensor and four servo motors. The lesser the light, the faster the servo motors move, which in turn, causes the leaves to fall. These servos are attached to steel wires, housed inside clear tubes at the back of the dress.

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“At the site of each hole, I attached the leaves by melting wax onto steel wires. When there is less light, the servos start to speed up and pull the steel wire. When the thread is pulled sideways, the leaf hits the side of the tube’s hole which breaks the wax. In that way, the mechanism makes leaves fall down,” she adds.

In true DIY fashion (no pun intended), the color palette for the ensemble was made to emulate that of autumn, while its fabric was laser cut into stylized leaf shapes, spray painted and eventually attached to a cotton base.

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“I strongly believe that Fall can influence the fashion world to become more dynamic and to increase the way clothes can react to the world around them. I want clothing to have more responsiveness to the environment, so that instead of people always change their clothes, the clothes can sometimes change themselves.”

Want to see Özkan’s work in action? Watch the video below, and head over to the Maker’s official page to discover how she is converging both fashion and technology in an extremely unique way. Hat tip to our friends over at Adafruit for coming across this project!