What if our clothes could seamlessly morph with us throughout the day?

Awakened Apparel is a shape-changing skirt that explores the integration of pneumatics into the very fabric of our clothing.

We envision a skirt that dynamically adapts to the climatic, functional, and emotional needs of the user. The skirt could shorten in warmer weather, become asymetric to allow a women to more easily ride a bicycle, or change its fit based on how confident a woman feels.

As a first step to implementing this vision, we created a skirt that changes shape via manual pneumatic actuation; this will be paired with a sensing system in the future to execute the full vision.




The skirt design is based on a modified Miura fold that transforms through pneumatic actuation.  The fold pattern curves around the body and changes in length and width when inflated. Pneumatic actuation is used as it is a “participatory fashion” and leverages the embodied nature of clothing through the inhalation and exhalation of air.

Original Miura design - symmetric angles cause pattern to decrease
symmetrically in length and width in a flat plane

Modified Miura design - asymmetric angles cause pattern to curve
the body when folded


We designed two modes of actuation for the origami skirt: (1) inflation creates folding and shortens the skirt (2) inflation creates unfolding and lengthens the skirt.


In this pneumatic system, inflatable bladders are  fabricated from anti-static material and attached to light canvas using double-sided fusing material.  The varied material thicknesses causes the fabric to fold in one direction.

Inflation channel fabrication

Inflation mechanism


In this approach, origami folds are created by sewing pleats into the fabric.  Inflatable bladders made of fabric and latex are attached to the fabric. Inflating them causes the creases from the sewn pleats to expand and their elasticity keeps the origami folded when the channels are deflated.

Inflation channel and creased fabric fabrication



Published in the Proceedings of the eighth international conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interactions, Munich February 2014: Awakened Apparel - Embedded Soft Actuators for Expressive Fashion and Functional Garments