Climate Dress from Diffus Designs has circuits
integrated into the embroidery that sense varying
levels of carbon dioxide in the air and activate
LED lights in the dress when levels rise.
technology means Google Glass or Apple Watch to most.
But for a few designers and fashionistas ó including
Katy Perry ó it sometimes refers to skirts, dresses,
handbags and suits.
became a client of a brand called CuteCircuit after her
stylist saw an exhibit featuring its LED-illuminated
Galaxy Dress at the Museum of Science and Industry in
Chicago. Perry ordered a similar gown (which the
designers had five days to complete) and wore it to the
Met Ball in New York in 2010, making headlines around
has since worn CuteCircuit designs on "American
Idol" and "The Voice" of Germany.
CuteCircuit showed for the first time at New York
Fashion Week a year ago, and one of its handbags debuted
on Net-A-Porter.com last fall.
live in a digital era, with everyone constantly on
Instagram and Pinterest and Facebook, but fashion hasnít
changed for hundreds of years," said creative
director Francesca Rosella, who launched CuteCircuit in
2004 with Ryan Genz. "We really wanted to move
innovation into the garments we wear."
isnít the only brand integrating technology into
fashion. Like many first-generation tech efforts, some
of the results are more novelty than reality for now.
But these examples, featured at a recent Museum of
Science and Industry event, are nudging the needle
motorcycle jacket from Umbilical Sport, with LEDs
embedded in the leather. The lights on the back and
shoulders of the jacket illuminate when the rider uses
his or her turn signal or applies the brakes. "It
gives drivers another viewpoint for safety," museum
head curator Kathleen McCarthy said. Bicycle apparel
applies similar technology.
Oricalco shirt from Grado Zero Espace, woven with
preprogrammed memory threads that automatically scrunch
up the long sleeves when the air grows warm. The sleeves
lengthen when it cools.
Climate Dress from Diffus Designs with soft circuits
integrated into the embroidery. They sense varying
levels of carbon dioxide in the air and activate LED
lights in the dress when levels rise. "You can
breathe on it and watch the dress light up,"
McCarthy said. Itís both a statement on climate change
and on air quality in the immediate vicinity.
Geometry Darling handbag designed by Alison Lewis for
Switch Embassy. It has a full spectrum LED screen
embedded behind a leather cutout. Colors can be changed
via an Android phone to coordinate with clothing.
Similarly, the brandís Theia bag has an LED screen on
the front of the bag that can display preset images as
well as customized phrases.
paparazzi-repelling miniskirt by CuteCircuit. If someone
snaps a flash photograph of someone wearing the skirt,
the reflective properties of the glass microspheres in
the fabric will glare, rendering the wearer invisible in
necklaces by Anke Loh with a sensor that converts the
wearerís movements into varying light patterns on the
jewelry. Digitally printed scarves, also by Loh,
incorporate stretchable circuits to display microscopic
photos from the Chicago-based designerís long-term
research project with epilepsy patients.
fiberoptic Heartbeat Dress designed by Alison Lewis for
Switch Embassy. It looks like a typical little black
dress, but has biometric sensors. "If youíre
wearing it out and started dancing and your body
temperature and heart rate go up, the light pattern on
the dress changes," McCarthy said.
wedding dress from Atelier LeonLeon. A Tetris-loving
bride ordered it after seeing an exhibit in the
Netherlands featuring its creator. The illumination can
be changed via a remote control device, held by the
wearer or those around her.
of the very interesting things is fashion is becoming
social space," McCarthy said. "You can
interact with clothing in new ways and your friends can
interact with your clothing in new ways.
are fascinating times ahead."