When we think about an item of clothing, we imagine the colour, the fabric, the cut: in short, all of the physical aspects that define it. Ying Gao, research professor at the Graduate School of Fashion at UQAM, is more interested in the intangible aspects of the garment, a crucial element in the world of fashion.
Suddenly the garment is transformed into something completely different and appears to be inhabited by a body.
For Ying Gao, fashion design is not just a simple game of shapes and colours, but a complex process of design and manufacturing along with a careful design strategy. When we go beyond texture and colour, the reactions and movements of garments reveal flowing dimensions that are otherwise invisible. Air, in particular, can play an important role, an observation that attracted Ying Gao to inflatable garments. The researcher cites the example of a shapeless jacket sleeve into which air is blown: suddenly the garment is transformed into something completely different and appears to be inhabited by a body. Air becomes the focal point for colour, light and vibration.
Ying Gao's research involved an in-depth study of the changeable structure of garments and the integration of pneumatic and interactive technologies in their creation. The researcher collaborated with fashion designers, an artist consultant, a student in electrical and computer engineering and a manufacturer from the technical textile industry. Within this creation framework, media devices become components of garments designed for the performing arts, using technology that is also transferable to the ready-to-wear garment industry.
The results of this study have been seen in museums and on the catwalks of fashion shows, arousing the enthusiasm of both the entertainment industry and the world of fashion alike.