Clothing for Moderns

Lea Albaugh (2014)

Lea Albaugh‘s Clothing for Moderns is an investigation into the use of “soft” actuators in couture electromechanical clothing. Borrowing from established textile techniques, using materials that are native to wearables, and focusing on processes that can be done by hobbyists, the project explores a possible vocabulary for wearables beyond surface ornamentation and rigid structures.


Clothing for Moderns: Cocktail Party by Lea Albaugh :: Supported by FRFAF from STUDIO for Creative Inquiry on Vimeo.


In content, the project takes a couture/design fiction approach of providing overwrought solutions for highly-mannered contexts: for example, a dress for avoiding social interactions at a cocktail party.


Clothing for Moderns: At the Office by Lea Albaugh :: Supported by FRFAF from STUDIO for Creative Inquiry on Vimeo.


Albaugh discussed these projects, as well as the context and history of electromechanical couture, in this half-hour lecture presentation at the STUDIO, “Clothes that Move: Why and How?


Clothes that Move: Why and How? Artist Talk with Lea Albaugh from STUDIO for Creative Inquiry on Vimeo.


“Clothing for Moderns” was produced in summer and fall 2014 during a residency at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, with support from the Art Works program of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier.

Lea Albaugh is currently a freelance designer and consultant with Disney Research Pittsburgh. Her background is in Architectural Studies and Tangible Design at Carnegie Mellon University, and she is also an alumna of Hacker School in New York City. She is involved with Maker skill education, and has worked as a teaching artist with MAKESHOP at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh with a focus on teaching textile arts and new media to older children and educators. Her previous robotic textile work has been exhibited with the Rossum’s artist collective in Pittsburgh and the Border Town design studio in Toronto, Ontario. She also works in interactive narrative and video game art, including a piece in the inaugural Vector Game Art Festival in Toronto. See more of Lea’s work at








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