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):
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):
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):
Leather bracelet/ USB cable
by designer 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):
Rainforest dress by designer Amy Winters
changes colours in reaction to sunlight and water
(images from rainbowwinters.com):
Rainforest dress in full colour bloom
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):
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.
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.