A Wardrobe Magician and a Chameleon Prototype

Remember the thermochromic fabric I had? It’s finally come alive as a vest! Yes!

One can’t do all projects alone, so for this I’ve asked the help of fashion designer, tomato gardener, and nutrition enthusiast Kate Russell, who courageously wielded the bulky fabric of serpentine texture and tarpaulin-like thickness.

(Right) Kate Russell, Wardrobe Magician (Left) My hair, which desperately needs a cut. Photo taken by our patient waitress.

We did the final fitting in the Cloister Cafe in the East Village last Sunday night. It gave a very absurd and hilarious environment of stained glass “windows” of saints and martyrs, bewildered cafe-goers, and Celine Dion and the Beach Boys singing in the background while pins poked my neck and Kate was hard at work.

Stained glass "windows" at the Cloisters Cafe in the East Village

Today, I stopped by her office to pick up the final prototype.

Kate Russell, my wardrobe magician. (I have a wardrobe magician! Whee!)

Here is the vest:

Thermochromic prototype for a hug vest. It's blue in parts that were touched before the photograph was taken.

Kudos to Kate for the craft that went into the vest. “It wasn’t fun,” she says of the fabric, because it was thick and bulky and wouldn’t go into the sewing machine easily. She also lined the vest with an old L.L.Bean jacket she found in a thrift shop.

Kate Russell and our vest

This week, I will test this by wearing it and hugging friends, colleagues, and strangers alike. I want to see where their body parts will land, which will be indicated by the color change on the vest, and whether having some kind of feedback will make the hugger hug more.

Clearly, a lot of hugging went on here.

Thanks, Kate! What’s great about collaborating with dear friends is that it doesn’t feel like work at all. We’re working together again for another project, so stay tuned for more.

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