Drapecast is the prototype of a unique tool for fashion designers, enabling them to benefit from the conceptual exploration of draping without the need for a dress form or even fabric. Geared towards modern fashion designers who work on the go, Drapecast only requires a computer and a Leap Motion. Simulated fabric is manipulated on a virtual form through hand motions, incorporating the hands-on appeal of draping. Designers can drape anywhere – even on a plane.
Drapecast is meant to be open source, which would allow designers to customize everything from the simulated fabric’s weight, malleability, and color to the responsiveness to different hand motions to the attachment points and shape of the digital dress form. The prototype was created in Unity using Leap Motion plug-ins. Hand movements are processed by the Leap Motion’s infrared sensors and shown in the virtual draping room. This space consists of simulated pliable fabric and a fixed dress form (represented by a cylinder in this prototype). The goals for further development include placing markers along design lines (princess seams, waistline, etc.), incorporating a function to snapshot designs as they are created, and substantially increased stability between Unity and the Leap Motion interface.
There is a wide range of potential users for this product. First and foremost, it was inspired by and designed for students who may not have the physical and financial resources to drape hundreds of silhouettes in real fabric. Drapecast is by nature customizable, and would be valuable to designers who travel a lot and those who do not have studio space. Accessible digital draping technology can save time, money, space, and thousands of yards of muslin.
At this stage, Drapecast exists at the concept design level. It was conceived and designed by Katie Herman, a recent Fashion Design MA graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design and developed with assistance from Yubi Orengo, a Kent State Fashion Marketing undergraduate. Neither has a background in programing or had used Unity or Leap Motion before, so there were many challenges in the development of Drapecast. Given more time for development, all of the functions proposed in the prototype should possible using Unity and the Leap Motion.