How can we encourage people to show their true self through anonymity?
MFA Products of Design
Product Design, Fashion Design
WhoD is the product lens of my thesis — A Mask That Reveals: Exploration and Expression Through Anonymity.
WhoD is a smart hoodie that encourages people to show another side of themselves. It has an extra long hood and a digital screen on the back which people can upload an image from their cell phone. When put up, the hood covers the entire face of the user. When the hood is not up, the fabric covers the screen and the image shown on it. It provides provides an option for for people to show either the identity they perform in daily life or the ideal self.
Clothes have always been a representation of people's identity in our life: when I was a high school student, I wore a uniform; when I was in a death metal band, I wore a black T-shirt with skeleton patterns. I felt different when I was in different clothes. Therefore, I chose fashion to explore my thesis as a 3D product. I aimed at using a wearable to change people's feeling on themselves, to be brave to show their true self.
We already have a lot of masks in our life: users IDs, profile pages, phone numbers, etc. When we talk about a mask, it's more like a metaphor rather than something to cover our face. However, this time, I want to go back to the original meaning of a mask. What if we have Halloween parties every day? What will people do?
I started my design by sketching different kinds of hats, hoods, masks, etc. Finally, I decided to go for this idea of a hoodie representing both a daily wearable and the youth culture.
It has an extra long hood and a digital screen on the back which people can upload an image from their cell phone. When put up, the hood covers the entire face of the user. When the hood is not up, the fabric covers the screen and the image shown on it. It provides an option for people to show either the identity they perform in daily life or the ideal self.
This smart hoodie works with an app. Simply put up your hood, upload an image, and show the other side of yourself. You will feel good expressing an idea you normally can not talk about.
I did a demo of this project on my thesis presentation. For most of the time, I look confident when I present, while no one knows I am nervous indeed. To give myself a psychological implication, I uploaded an empty theater picture I took on my back. "I feel if I'm just presenting to myself, I won't be nervous about that."
Learning fashion from scratch, I had a lot to tell in the process. From learning pattern making to 3D draping, from sewing to embroidery. I got lost in the fabric store; everyone laughed when wearing my prototype.
At the beginning of this project, my professor suggested me to buy a hoodie and simply change the design of the hood. It was almost an impossible task to finish in three months with other five intense thesis project going on at the same time. With a willing to make all design language communicates as a brand identity, I chose the hardest way. I was so glad I did it at last.