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Awakened Apparel: Shape Changing Skirt

with Pip Mothersill and Jenny Broutin Farah

Each morning we select an outfit meant to suit our mood and our plans. What if our clothes could seamlessly morph with us as our attitudes and activities change throughout the day? We created Awakened Apparel; one of the first shape-changing fashions to employ pneumatically actuated origami. Our prototype draws from diverse disciplines including soft robotics and fashion to explore shape-changing technology held close to the body.

We created two modes of pneumatic actuation to transform a modified Miura pattern skirt that forms around the body as it folds.

Inflation creates folding: Heat-fused laminated Mylar inflation channels create folds in the fabric when activated by a foot pump. Channels sit on both sides of the material to create mountain and valley folds.

Inflation creates unfolding: Origami folds are created by sewing pleats into the fabric. Inflating bladders attached to the fabric causes the creases to expand and lengthen.

We continue to explore new materials and approaches for achieving further actuation and folding in the skirt, while maintaining a soft wearable structure.

This work was published in the proceedings of TEI 2014. Additional details and most recent work can be found at