A ‘smart dress’ called Butterfly. Its creators are Ezra and Tuba, two sisters from Turkey. Through a partnership with Intel, a major player in the IT sector, the two women achieved with their high fashion creation, a true technological powerhouse.
Ezra and Tuba Cetin were born and raised in Turkey, in a family of fashion manufacturers. From a very young age, the two sisters were involved in the family-run textile company. They later developed their knowledge while completing studies in art and design. ‘Ezra studied Graphic Design at Bilkent University in Ankara and then, Visual Arts at Marmara University in Istanbul. For my part, I studied Visual Arts at Bilkent University but also Textile and Design at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. We have both worked abroad for a few years in garment design for brands such as Secret Nick Nora, Levi, Tommy Hilfiger, Ital Tekstil and Victoria’s Koton,’ explains Tuba. In 2006, they created their own line of luxury ready-to-wear. Their collections were sold in stores and shopping centres in France, United States and Japan.
Ezra and Tuba demonstrate a lot of creativity. As a matter of fact, they have designed countless costumes for artists performing on stage or in films, or musicals. ‘Our ability to adapt to different sectors is probably the reason why Intel requested our services to produce a high-tech dress. We immediately accepted the challenge. We were already used to creating period costumes and this time, we had to envision a futuristic outfit that would unite aesthetics and technology,’ says Ezra. The Butterfly dress which is the first ever haute couture dress equipped with the Intel Edison technology (a matchbox-size computer) was presented at a special fashion show in Paris, in presence of the two designers. ‘We made this smart dress in a luxurious jacquard fabric with weaved-in fibers and we adorned it with 40 blue butterflies. When a person comes closer to the dress, 16 butterflies simultaneously fly off before landing back to the dress,’ adds Ezra. As in real life, butterflies seem to fear when a person gets too close. ‘Butterflies interact depending on the distance,’ says Stéphane Negre, President of Intel for Western Europe. ‘Starting at 80 cm, they start moving and flapping their wings.’
The dress is equipped with eight servomotors. Butterflies fly off when an ultrasound proximity sensor detects objects at a certain distance from the dress.
The sensor can detect a presence from a distance of at least 30 cm. In order for the butterflies to flutter and then fly away in only a few wing flapping, Intel developed hand-made and electromechanical elements unique to the Butterfly. ‘In a simple arm movement by the person wearing this dress, the butterflies take off. They can also be put in action with a remote control that communicates with the dress via a wireless or WiFi network, or through a Bluetooth connection,’ says Tuba. Highly distinguished, this dress still weights eight kilos and is for the moment, only offered in size 34. The garment runs on rechargeable Li-Ion batteries, offering autonomy of up to 40 minutes, depending on the usage. A butterfly dress which promises to deliver emotions while opening up the way to new technological perspectives: smart clothing.
By Darine Habchi
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