Metamorphic Wings is a wearable designed to capture the personality and accentuate the features of Tiffany Geigel, a dancer with Heidi Latsky Dance company. Consisting of wings with living hinges, Metamorphic Wings symbolizes the stigma society has towards people with disabilities and empowers them to be their true and authentic selves.
Designed to look like butterfly wings, Metamorphic Wings aims to represent Tiffany's self-image: regardless of how people judge her before knowing her, she will always feel like a majestic butterfly when she dances. The wings are made of thin wood and have living hinges at various points so that Tiffany can fold them. Elastic fabric not only adds to the "plain look" but also serves as a support for the living hinge. The plain look was incorporated so that when Tiffany opens the wings people are wowed by them in a way in which they might not have been with the wings closed. The design enhances one specific position that Tiffany assumes in the dance companies On Display performances, which show off atypical bodies and performers with disabilities. When she stands and has her arms hugging her body, the wings will fold inwards and wrap around her, mimicking a cocoon. She can also then move her arms to a T pose and the wings will be extended in full glory. This metamorphosis of the positions illustrates how people think she might be dependent because of her disability but in fact, she is a very strong independent dancer.
The Metamorphic Wings is a wearable design that aims to challenge the stigma society has towards people with disabilities. The design demonstrates that people with atypical bodies are much more than their disability. The Metamorphic Wings design is created for the Heidi Latsky Dance Company's On Display performance, a deconstructed art exhibit/fashion show that highlights society’s fixation with body image. The performers are a group of people with atypical bodies who pose as sculptures in a sculpture court. The design is specifically made for Tiffany Geigel, one of the performers. Tiffany loves the spotlight when she is dancing; she describes herself as outgoing, honest, and feisty, and takes pride in shocking people and proving them wrong. She has Jarcho-Levin Syndrome, which is a rare disorder that leads to malformation of the ribs and/or back. This condition makes Tiffany’s torso unusually short but also enables her to move her body in a unique and more fluid way compared to other dancers. The design helps to unveil Tiffany's extraordinary talent and surprise the audience.
The Metamorphic Wings transforms from a cocoon-like state into a majestic abstract butterfly. The wings are made with stretchable fabric and thin wood, which gives the design structure and makes the wings stay in place. The original design was made with thermoplastic which was too flimsy so the thin wood with living hinges was introduced. The living hinges are created by edging the material in a specific pattern, making it easier for the dancer to manipulate the piece. The white elastic fabric attaches to the structural piece of the design, which is the thin wood, with spray-on adhesive. The fabric is meant to add dimension to the design and secure the living hinges.
The Metamorphic Wings have a dual purpose. They enhance the performance and communicate Tiffany’s message. Also by showcasing the talent, creativity, and independence of people with atypical bodies, The wearables for the On Display performance, empowers not only the performers themselves but also the audience to be their unapologetic selves.