We Visited The Studio That Puts High-Tech Fashion On Billy Porter And Janelle Monae (The Verge)


There are no rules on “Freaky Friday” at Smooth Technology’sBrooklyn studio. Accompanied by a robot bartender that, through facial recognition software, remembers your drink preference, a light-up demon babydoll, and a boatload of tools, the team gathers to spitball ideas. The wilder the better. And while freedom to explore the freaky is chicken soup for the innovator’s soul, it’s “Meticulous Monday” that keeps the team grounded in their fast-paced and pioneering ventures.

Smooth Technology designed the mechanics behind Taylor Swift’s LED costume on her 1989 World Tour, Janelle Monáe’s blinking eye Met Gala dress, and Billy Porter’s opening-and-closing motorized fringe hat at the Grammy Awards that set the internet ablaze. In addition to electronic livery for pop culture icons, Smooth Technology creates interactive exhibits that push the boundaries of motion and lighting, inviting its audiences to engage with tech in unfamiliar ways.

I met up with part of the team to discuss the challenges of integrating tech into fashion and capturing its audience’s weary attention spans through subtle engagement.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.