Are Sound-Wave Changing Prints The Future Of Fashion?

As technology continues to rapidly progress, the fashion industry is consistently forced to find new ways to keep up with the times. Whether that means disrupting the decades-old show schedule, incorporating various social media platforms into a presentation, or offering consumers the potential to purchase clothing fresh off the runway, innovation isn't just a component of design — it's a part of it.

Experimenting with new aesthetic concepts means messing with unexpected textiles — and that's something that Japanese brand Anrealage does best. Though the offerings from designer Kunihiko Morinaga’s fall/winter 2016 collection were, as a whole, futuristic — highly-sculptural silhouettes, millinery-style helmets that sat over the models' eyes — it was the specific fabrics used that spoke to that forward-looking vision in the most literal sense.

The selection, simply titled "NOISE," appeared to be printed in just that: a black-and-white pattern that closely resembled static on a television. As models approached the walls of the glass box that surrounded the runway, the textile transformed (or, at least, that’s what it seemed like to the naked eye) into a more recognizable houndstooth or floral print, for example. If we blinked, we thought it'd disappear. So what exactly happened?

ANREALAGE AUTUMN-WINTER 2016-17 "NOISE" #anrealage_official #anrealage #pfw #fw16

A video posted by ANREALAGE (@anrealage_official) on

“We applied a special technique called “Visual Cryptography” in collaboration with Toru Urakawa, who acts as a computer programmer and an artist,” the brand's press release explained. “At first glance, the fabric pattern looks like a snow noise, but several informations are coded in the fabric, just like cryptography by a computer program. When seen through a transparent filter, these informations are 'decoded,' [and] new prints appear. Thanks to an advanced digital technology, you catch informations from the noise combining layers of fabrics. Now you will see binary patterns such as hound tooth check, checkerboard, and horizontal stripes."

While that may sound like a page from Computer Coding 101, Morinaga's experimentation with technology in fashion is meant to be taken seriously — not as a gimmick. And though it's hard to imagine how these pieces would translate into everyday wear, it does have showgoers stopping to consider the current, saturated state of fashion, and the lengths a designer must go to create something that will truly lead people to think. Because it's what's not there (even though it appears to be) that leaves us wanting more.

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