Yorishiro - Breathing New Life into Clothing (Part 2)

Shodai Kayama

Is it an interactive device or a display?


Interviewer & Japanese Writer: Yamamoto Takaya; Translation & Editing: Matthew Cherry

Shodai Kayama was continuing the development of Yorishiro, a hanger that breathes life into clothing, seemingly giving them a mind of their own. He and his device were selected for the 2020 INNO-vation Program’s Disruptive Challenge.

Click here to read Part 1

Development focused on both the hardware and software aspects.

From the hardware perspective, durability was the topic at hand. The hook on Yorishiro has a rotating structure, but for hanger to support the full weight of clothing, a solid structure is also required. Kayama worked on redesigning the parts of the hanger while increasing the durability of the hook.

The latest prototype

The software aspect was a little more difficult for Kayama to envision. Yorishiro received positive reaction from the public at a live demonstration, but it was still hard to imagine how it could be useful in society. Motion capture cameras recorded people’s movements and then used that data to link the same motions to the clothing, but Kayama felt that this wasn’t quite enough. Through a combination of word-of-mouth, personal referrals and painstakingly sending out emails one at a time, Kayama was able to procure interviews with people and businesses connected with the apparel industry.

“Even though I ideally pictured this as a device to be used in private living spaces to create a new form of communication in everyday life between people and their clothing, if you think about balancing that with the needs of society, it’s better to consider this device as equipment to be used in businesses,” Kayama said.

Demonstration of the prototype

Thanks to the interviews, Kayama was able to see two paths ahead of him. Through speaking with designers who got their start in the fashion industry, he discovered that there is a strong desire to show off the beauty of the clothes themselves. On the other hand, those connected to retail said that a sense of communication and interactivity was important to convey to customers.

”Would this be a moving device that showed off clothing, or something with a more interactive focus? In the middle of development I started to get a grasp of these two different paths, and it really made me take a step back and think,” Kayama reflected.

Tools that move displays around like robotic mannequins already exist, so it’s not exactly an entirely new concept. But Kayama felt that there was a societal need in that direction. In order to accommodate for both paths, he got to work on software development, creating a smartphone app that would allow for unique clothing presentations. The app was prepared with movement data that matched up with several types of clothing. These movements were programmed based on the principles of the psychology that exist within clothing.

“Pinning down the software’s concept was progressing, but I was also working with preparing live demonstrations at the time, so I wasn’t able to complete its development during the 1-year time period in the INNO-vation Program. I think the fact that I wasn’t able to completely organize everything played a role as well,” Kayama said about his time in the program. In part 3, we’ll ask Kayama about his developments beyond the INNO-vation Program.

The software development screen

(Click here to read part 3)

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