The EGL interactive costumes shot by art director Ruster Klijn and his photographer Juriaan Hoefsmit at the Royal Verkade Private Home in Haarlem show how one can create sensors and switches through textiles; a bend sensor placed at the upperarm lights up according to how high/low the dancer moves his/her arm, the textil pushbutton in the bra piece is a switch, the big dress only lights up when someone else approaches it, the mask and crown light up when the silver strings make contact when the wearer shakes his/her head. The costumes are presented at the Textiles Museum in Boras, Sweden and at Maastricht Fashion Clash in the Netherlands.
Interview for the Catalogue 2012 MFC;
1. Please introduce yourself to our readers. (Who are you, where do you come from and what is your field of specialization?)
My name is Evelyn Lebis and I’m Dutch. At the age of 6 I started classical ballet and contemporary dance for the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. I obtained my BA in fashion at the Willem de Kooning Art Academy in Rotterdam where I explored textiles and yarn properties in collaboration with the Audax Textiles museum in Tilburg. My Master’s degree at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras, Sweden steered my research towards wearable technology for performance art with a specialization in Light integrated Jacquard knits implemented with textile sensors sourced by the human body. Alongside I followed a Post Academic Smart Textiles course at the engineering department of Ghent University in Belgium.
2. How did you get the idea to combine interaction and costume design?
I wanted to make a project which represents my method; (intuitive drawing, skilled production and creative collaborations) in this project the space is my canvas, the interactive costumes are the paint and the dancers are the pencil whose movements have been designed according to engineered schematics which I tested in advance.
3. Who is your target group? Who do you design for?
The human body.
4. How does interactive costume design contrast ordinary costume design?
The performance of the wearer is steered through the textiles properties; the intensity of the light of the dress is adjusted through the way the wearer moves her upper arm thus the interactive costume defines the performance whereas in regular costume design; the outfit enhances the performance.
5. What makes it special to you?
I aimed to provide aesthetic and technical options for wearable technology. These costumes express how science and art need to collaborate for future design possibilities.
6. Could you see your work also walking down the runway as a fashion collection?
Yes: the costumes are appealing in the real and artificial world; for me it is more interesting to work with an art director and his photographer; the editorial pictures are quite complex because it required light calculations and endless trials.
7. Where did you get the inspiration from to come up with the theme of light in your work? (Scandinavia/ Sweden?)
I love surrealism, learned from Christophe Coppens and was blessed to be surrounded with the Scandinavian mentality when I started and produced these costumes.
8. Do you see yourself more as a designer or an artist?
I basically stepped into the creative process of an engineer and combined it with the creative process of a designer and created performance art.
9. How do you personally define „fashionclash“ or „ a clash with fashion“ for yourself?
I use fashion in my personal life very random; I put on a garment in the morning and I take it off in the evening regardless of the codes that the fashion system dictates, I can wear the same garment for over 10 years, whereas in my fashion work everything is designed; the material research is innovative, the collaboration is based on responsive inspiration and the shape is not random.