Building a textile sanctuary for an ephemeral metropolis

By Maria Iacobo

How many people can say their career trajectory changed after dressing Lady Gaga?

While an intern for London-based Studio XO, Irmandy Wicaksono collaborated on a dress that featured an integrated bubble machine and an array of mechanical mirrors. He didn’t meet the client, Lady Gaga, until the fitting. Wicaksono says the experience of using his engineering skills with his love of art showed him that he could combine these two passions and forge a career.

“That’s how I got into wearable technology; through these mechatronic dresses for Lady Gaga,” says Wicaksono. 

Now a PhD student, Wicaksono is blending technology — his undergraduate and master’s degrees are in electronic and electrical engineering — and media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab’s Responsive Environments group. His work with interactive textiles began with small projects, such as a knitted scarf that is also a keyboard, and grew to include larger items and household textiles

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