Dress to impress

Adobe’s ever-changing digital dress gives fashion dynamism a whole new meaning.

Project Primrose, Adobe’s groundbreaking interactive dress, blurs the line between technology and fashion with a flexible textile display that offers endless style possibilities. 

‘Recent advances in smart materials have enabled displays to move beyond planar surfaces into the fabric of everyday life,’ Adobe researcher Christine Dierk and her team said in a research publication released last year, referring to the ‘low-power non-emissive material [that] can be cut to any shape, and dynamically diffuses light’. The wearable, adaptable and flexible textile can be used by content creators and designers to showcase their designs, with content created with Adobe Firefly, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Stock and Adobe Illustrator displayed directly on the surface.

This year, in October 2023, the project has come to life in the form of a strapless cocktail dress, which Dierk wore on stage at Adobe MAX, a three-day creativity conference in Los Angeles held by the computer software company. ‘Unlike traditional clothing, which is static, Primrose allows me to refresh my look in a moment,’ said Dierk. The dress is covered with high-tech sequins – somewhat reminiscent of fish scales – that are actually reflective light-diffuser modules that use reflective-backed polymer-dispersed liquid crystals (PDLC) commonly used in smart-window applications. Using this technology, the dress can change colours and patterns seamlessly at the press of a wireless button. 

Beyond just changing patterns, Project Primrose can also be animated: in Dierk’s demonstration, she demonstrated that the sequins can detect the movement of the wearer,  swaying and ‘sloshing’ in response. ‘Fashion doesn’t have to be static. It can be dynamic and even interactive,’ she said. ‘And we’re excited for a future where there are more ways to express yourself.’

Watch the clip from the announcement here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvGquKkSFMM

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Photographs: Adobe.