Clothes will shrink to fit "at the push of a button" within five years

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: micro-robotics and 3D-printing are poised to revolutionise fashion, says the designer of Lady Gaga's bubble-blowing dress, in the second part of our interview with Studio XO.

Anemone for Lady Gaga by Studio XO
Benjamin Males of Studio XO. Photograph © Dezeen

Despite a conservative fashion industry, rapid changes in technology will transform the clothes we wear, says Benjamin Males, of London-based fashion and technology company Studio XO.

Anemone for Lady Gaga by Studio XO
Early development sketches of the Anemone dress

"We believe fashion is quite antiquated," he says. "While everything around us becomes intelligent, becomes more computational, our clothes are still very old-fashioned".

This will not be the case for long, says Males, who believes that advances in micro-robotics and transformable textiles will soon make their way into everyday clothing, helping create clothes that can change shape using small motors.

Anemone for Lady Gaga by Studio XO
Lady Gaga wearing Anemone

"We believe in the next decade we're going to see some pretty amazing things happen around transformable textiles and mechanical movement in our clothes: we are looking at introducing that in the next five years," he says.

He points to the ubiquitous use of smartphones as evidence that people are becoming increasingly comfotable with having sophisticated technology on or very close to their bodies.

Moving up and down a clothes size may soon be possible without having to buy new clothes, predicts Males.

"We [will soon be able to] change the fit of our clothes at the push of a button, or our clothes could form new architectures around us," he says.

Anemone for Lady Gaga by Studio XO
Lady Gaga wearing Anemone

Males is one of the founding partners of Studio XO, whose work includes dresses for Lady Gaga: Volantis, a flying dress powered by 12 electric motor-driven rotors, and the bubble-blowing dress Anemone, which is documented in this movie.

Males describes Studio XO's Anemone as a provocation and a commentary on the future of textiles.

Anemone for Lady Gaga by Studio XO
Development sketches for Anemone

Anemone is a dress that blows large and small bubbles, the small ones creating a foam structure around the wearer and the large bubbles flying away.

Anemone for Lady Gaga by Studio XO
Detail of one of the bubble-blowing mechanisms on Anemone.

Males calls the mechanisms that create this effect bubble factories. These are small, 3D-printed jaw mechanisms. When they open, a fan blows out large or small bubbles depending on the size of the mechanism's aperture.

The dress was unveiled in 2013, when Lady Gaga wore it to the iTunes festival. It is the second so-called bubble dress which Lady Gaga has worn, the first one being a nude leotard with plastic transparent globes attached to it.

The music featured in the movie is a track by Simplex. You can listen to his music on Dezeen Music Project.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers is a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how design and technology are coming together to shape the future.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers