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Fashion design is about being inventive:

constant contemplation of the next ‘what if’

to take an idea and translate it into a beautiful reality.

Technology has penetrated every aspect of existence.

Now fashion innovators have started to channel

technology into dress creations of style and function.

Clothing is set to be elevated to more than just body covering,

but means to communicate, respond to

various stimuli and react to certain environmental factors.

Chinese-born, Montreal-based designer Ying Gao is at the forefront of

fashion / technology- wear.

She has designed dresses which respond to the steady gaze of an on-looker.

If stared at for a length of time, tiny motors are activated and parts of the

garment begin to move, the ultimate in ‘eye-catching’ apparel.

Manufactured with photo-luminescent thread, the dresses also

glow in dimmed lighting.

(image from cnbc.com):

wearable technology, dress by Ying Gao

by designer Ying Gao

moveable parts and glow in the dark patterns

Wearable Solar, the brain-child company of Dutch designer Pauline van Dongen,

specialises in tech – fashion.

Her concept is the design of garments, which are able to harness solar power

and utilise this natural energy source to power smart devices.

The clothing is lightweight and can charge a smartphone to

50 per cent capability if worn in the sun for over 60 minutes.

(image from paulinevandongen.nl):

wearabable solar dress by pauline van dongen

The future is solar-powered bright!

Wearable solar dress

by designer Pauline van Dongen

During New York Fashion Week (NYFW)-  s/s 2015,

designer of luxury apparel and accessories Rebecca Minkoff,

introduced a jewelery line, which featured a gold chain – link bracelet

that alerts the wearer to texts and mobile calls.

The bracelet makes use of Bluetooth wireless technology.

The collection also boasts a leather bracelet,

which serves as a USB cable for charging mobile phones.

These jewellery pieces will be ready for this year’s holiday gift -giving season.

(images from fastcodesign.com):

wearable technology, rebecca minkoff, from fastcodesign.com leather bracelet3035049-inline-i-1-rebecca-minkoff-to-debut-fashion-tech-jewelry

Leather bracelet/ USB cable

by designer Rebeca Minkoff
 

wearable technology by rebeca minkoff

Incoming:  texts/phone alerts

Gold chain – link bracelet by Rebecca Minkoff

Key to tech-fashion is this interest in clothing that ‘do something’:

interacts, reacts, moves-  of its own accord.

Central Saint Martin’s graduate, designer Amy Winters

creates garments that do just that: respond to environmental stimuli of

sound, sunlight, water.

Her design company Rainbow Winters develops inter-active clothing .

(image from ecouterre.com):

wearable technology, rainforest dress, rainbow winters

Rainforest dress by designer Amy Winters

changes colours in reaction to sunlight and water

(images from rainbowwinters.com):

wearable technoloyg, rainbow winters, tulip dress, respond to light_water from rainbowwintersws3

Rainforest dress in full colour bloom

wearable technology, thunderstorm dress, rainbow winters

Thunderstorm: a sound reactive, 

holographic leather dress

which illuminates as volume increases

Design duo Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman (Fyodor Golan)

have taken fashion-tech to the next level by creating a tiered skirt

made of mobile phones which shows static as well as live-feed images.

The images continually change.

For added impact, the skirt is equipped with a special app

which generates colour variations as the wearer moves.

(image from wired.co.uk):

wearable technology, mobile phone skirt by fyodor golan

‘Stay tuned-in’

fashion-tech skirt by Fyodor Golan

Yet, although these fashion-tech garments are well ‘tricked out’,

the challenge remains one of  aesthetics:

how to manufacture techno clothing and accessories with beauty appeal.

Karinna Nobbs, senior lecturer of Fashion Brand Strategy

at London College of Fashion, succinctly sums up this fashion/tech dilemma:

“In order for wearable tech to become accepted by the mass market, the design has to fit, but the tech also has to add value to the product and not be a gimmick, which many of the offers to date have been.” (quote from forbes.com)

Entertainer/entrepreneur Will.i.am is set to partner with

celebrated British architect Zaha Hadid to create a line of

fashion-tech wear called Fashionology.

Zaha-and-William-wired-Michael-Newington-Gray

 Will.i.am (l) and architect/designer Zaha Hadid (r)

(quote/image from wired.co.uk)

He has a clear vision of how to address the problem of fashion and tech aesthetics:

“Let’s not think what a technological company would do, let’s bake technology in, but come from the perspective of a fashion house. What would Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent do? What would Chanel do? What type of product would they put technology in to?”

In other words, the fashion should always be first considered

and the technology second in the creative/design process.

Although it seems as if there is still a bit left to be desired,

there is ever-increasing consumer interest in wearable technology.

A recent Washington Post article reports

“… 19.2 million wearable devices will be shipped worldwide in 2014, and the number is expected to climb to nearly 112 million by 2018.”

As modern life continues with rapid transitions, incorporating technology into

everyday, practical, useful and beautiful fashion is an inevitability.

Fashion and technology may once have been considered strange bedfellows

but are now readily united.

Fashion forward clothing has a new added dimension:  technology.