Silk long sleeve dress

A purple feather dress that inhales and exhales. A sculptural gown with a dramatic rotating skirt, or another that prints receipts. These are just a few of the creations that 28-year-old Cameron Hughes has made recently. Silk long sleeve dress  The New York-based designer specializes in high-tech dresses that move with you and have a life of their own. He made them as a hobby before the pandemic, but started to gain a following when he began to post on TikTok in 2020. Now, he has gained almost half a million followers on the app for his technically-driven, one-of-a-kind designs. “I started to make my designs for looks when I was going out to clubs for fun,” says Hughes. “Then, the pandemic hit and there was nowhere for people to see what I was making, or any specific events to make looks for—so I decided to show people what I was making on TikTok.”

Hughes, who has a BFA from Syracuse University, uses his experience in sculpture and engineering to design. “I took some engineering classes while [at Syracuse], but learned almost everything from YouTube and maker blogs,” Hughes says. “I actually did some kinetic and interactive sculpture [in school]—I’m just sculpting with fabric now.”

While his finished designs are mesmerizing, he often shows what goes on behind the scenes of making, say, a motorized, spinning skirt. Many of his followers point out that the designer’s work just begs for an artist like Lady Gaga to wear them (a client on his wish-list), and he also dreams of dressing someone for the Met gala and showing at New York Fashion Week. Whatever happens, he plans to take his growing following along for the ride. Beige formal dress “I want to show the entire process from making stuff in my studio apartment for silly TikTok videos to launching a brand,” he says. “An actual look at how it’s done.”

Below, Hughes talks about his creative process, what inspires him, and what he’s creating next.

What’s your process for creating TikToks? Where do you get ideas?

I film everything I do as I am making a design, sometimes setting up complex shots, time lapses and using a robotic slider or jib. It’s really important to me that my videos have a high production value, and that you can really see what I am doing and just how much work goes into making something. I get my ideas from watching way too many TikToks, seeing how other creators make engaging content. Also, how it’s made and other process videos on YouTube.

How would you define your style? What inspires you most when creating?

I’m not sure I have a defined style… yet. I just keep making things when ideas come to me. I love looking at new technology and other makers’ projects to see what types of components are available. I look at these things and think [about] what I can make with these. I also love looking at archival runway shows and current trends to see what is exciting to people in fashion.

Your work is very high-tech! Does your engineering background have to do with this?

Yes, my ability to make these designs is rooted in skills I learned while working as an industrial designer and engineer. The interesting thing is that there are quite a lot of engineers that actually go into sewing and making fashion in general. It is just a different medium—fabric and thread instead of injection molded plastic and screws. Puff long sleeve dress Even drafting patterns is similar to making drawings of engineered parts for injection molding. I’ve been able to translate these skills to sewing and pick up on how to make a garment pretty quickly.

What are some of your favorite creations so far?

We also love your moveable purple feather dress. How did you create this?

This dress was another long process to make. I had the idea, but to find the components and to get them to work reliably was something of a challenge. The first thing I did was to find servos [a motor-driven system] that were small enough they could appear to look like appliqués on the dress, rather than large motors. I wanted them to look like little pieces of jewelry attached to the dress that you wouldn’t expect to move or do anything until they came to life. Then I made the actual dress which is made from an undergarment of neoprene and boning to keep its shape, with a faille satin exterior shell. To make the servo encasements, I 3-D printed them, then spray painted them, and assembled them with the feathers. After that, I assembled the rest of the dress by gluing on the servo enactments with the feather attached, and plugging them into the servo controller boards I soldered together. Finally, I programmed everything and got all the feathers to move.

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