Shell Dress


Shell, 2015

Deborah Wong (Singapore)

Inspired by the protective exoskeletons of beetles, Shell was designed have the same appearance of strength though when coupled with the layered skirt which resembles the insects’ wings, still exudes femininity.

Similar to how some beetles communicate using light, Shell also has LED lights that hide beneath the plume of the skirt which are activated and blink when the ultrasonic sensor recognises when someone from behind the wearer comes just a bit too close for comfort.

Materials: Black faux leather, Arduino Lilypad, LED Strip, Ultrasonic sensor

I had wanted to create something that I felt an attachment to especially since I sometimes feel that strangers and even maybe friends occasionally come too physically close to me. I see Shell as a subtle way, both in design and technology, for strangers and friends alike to keep a fair distance away from the wearer without offending either sides.

The whole dress by itself is meant to look like a slightly edgier Little Black Dress because of the faux leather and the stiffness of the skirt which gives it its bounce and volume. The lights are also deliberately hidden underneath the plume of the skirt so that the dress is still seen as something easily wearable. The lights are easily switched on by simply flipping the switch on the Arduino LiPower found on the underside of the plume which then powers the LED strip to glow a beautiful blue from the inside of the dress. The lights only start blinking when the small Ultrasonic sensor detects an object or someone coming from behind who may be a bit too close for the wearer’s comfort.

The distance at which the lights blink can be set but the trigger number is currently at about 1m or so.