10.08.2022

Maya Jama’s BAFTAs dress designer, Richard Malone

The couture dress – made from ethically-sourced fabric including recycled, regenerative ocean waste, recycled wool and wadding from ex-factory waste – transformed digitally as Maya made her way down up the steps of the Royal Albert Hall.

If you thought Awards Season red carpets were getting predictable, Richard Malone’s 5G-powered augmented reality designed for Maya Jama on tonight’s BAFTAs red carpet should prove that theory wrong.

GLAMOUR UK caught up with the London-based Irish designer to discover more about the process behind the dress everyone is talking about…

ON THE DRESS

“The dress, which was entirely cut and stitched from hand, is made of 6 layers:

1.) An inner wool layer which is next to Maya’s body.

2.) A separate structural layer.

3.) A layer containing over 12 full body length wires (they are further encased in cotton concealed channels).

4.) A layer of wadding that hides the use of channels and allows us to conceal over 12 sensor bulbs (which are invisible).

5.) A lining layer.

6.) The final draped layer.

The top 2 layers and outer layer are made entirely using recycled, regenerative ocean waste. The inner layers are constructed from recycled wool and wadding from ex factory waste. There are 3 sculpted padded sections, moulded and covered in wadding and recycled ocean waste.

The inner wires and sensors are hand sewn to the body and are in the exact position to be read by a 5G phone. This was extremely difficult as the entire dress is asymmetric, but all inner layers are exactly symmetrical.”

ON THE DESIGN PROCESS

“It’s been a really elaborate journey, from initial sketches through to figuring how to place and arrange the inner tech layers.

We had to make around 5 different dresses that are layered together to form the silhouette and hide the tech, including a layer for support, a layer for wiring, a layer for hidden battery packs, a layer for sensors, and all before the outer draped layer.

You’d never know that there 4 large battery packs, 12 sensor bulbs and over 24 wires surrounding Maya’s body.”

ON PRODUCING THE DRESS SUSTAINABLY

“It wasn’t difficult at all to ensure it was a conscious gown. I only participate in design with ethically and sustainably sourced fabric, in whatever project I’m working on. Maya was also super excited to be the only woman on the red carpet wearing a fully recycled dress from ocean waste.”

ON THE FUTURE OF AR ON THE RED CARPET

“I think its a really exiting step forward. This is just the beginning and so much can be achieved – especially when you consider performance and theatre design. It could be such a sustainable way of creating a more inclusive experience for people who can’t make the event and feels totally egalitarian.

I also think a big problem with fashion is that people assume to be engaged you have to consume – but you can be engaged by visiting exhibitions or studios and this kind of tech can lend massively to museums and education.”

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