Merging Fashion and Technology

August 27, 2012

It is always interesting to see how technology is being applied in all fields of design. I took a look at how new technology is being implemented in the fashion industry. Some high-tech fashion of the future is shown below – from solar power swimsuits and handbags to information sharing clothing.

Solar Power Fashion
Where a surface meets the sun, solar energy can be captured. The human body is no different, and plenty of fashion designers have hopped on board this growing technology. Designer Andrew Schneider understands this new solar real estate, having developed his solar bikini with a focus on sex appeal.

Solar-Powered Bikini (photo from

Design student Mae Yokoyama approached this technology in a manner of higher fashion with her solar panel necklace, one that would be a striking design even without the green element.

Solar Panel Necklace (image from

Last, the solar-powered handbag by Diffus continues the accessory approach to solar power, but delivers in a striking fashion. While some solar designs are still in gimmick territory, others can charge a phone, mp3 player or similar device in a short time in the sun.

Solar Handbag (photo from

RFID in Fashion
RFID (Radio-frequency identification) Technology can have a sinister or stunning application in fashion, depending on the execution. RFID tags have been embedded in products sold by some large labels and retail chains, tracking the use of their products for the purpose of marketing and store security. Yet other designers have used RFID technology to aid stroke patients or to help people remember their keys when leaving the house.


Fashion and LED Lights
Some future designs won’t be as functional as they will be visually impacting, but such has always been true about the clothes we wear. Designer Wei-Chieh Shih built a laser suit with multiple rows of lasers stretching across the wearer’s back. The suit will only have full visibility in a smoky environment, so this one is built for the night clubs. Mary Huang of Rhyme & Reason uses light as a primary element in her designs, reflecting a feminine sparkle in her already flattering illuminated clothing.

Fashion and LED

Laser Etched Fashion
In contrast to many of these new technologies, laser-etched fashion may be the furthest along. Mainstream designers and retailers have developed laser-etched products that can be found on the shelves in many stores today. FashioningTech has rounded up a recent collection of laser-etched clothing that has already hit the market. Design student Alba Prat may represent the remaining frontier of laser etched fashion, having released a conceptual series of laser-cut neoprene that is truly on the cutting edge.

Laser Etched Fashion (photo from

Kinetic Energy in Fashion
When we walk, run, or dance our movement can be converted into electrical energy. A small collection of enterprising inventors have taken the task of using clothing to capture this kinetic energy, then using it to power a watch, an mp3 player, and even a mobile phone. An industrial designer named Soledad Martin is working on a prototype to place kinetic energy harnesses in common shoes, allowing the wearer to charge a cell phone battery while they walk or run. Recently, designer Rafael Rozenkranz has built a jogging suit with an embedded mp3 player that runs solely off the kinetic energy produced during a jog. The technology isn’t necessarily new, but it is making its way into fashion more and more each decade. One early example of kinetic energy in fashion was with kinetic watches, which have run off the movement of the human body since the 1980s.

Kinetic watches, shoes, and jogging suits (photos from

Environmentally Responsive Fashion
The environment around us is changing, and our fashion can respond to that in artful or informative ways. Take for example the climate dress by Diffus, a system that monitors nearby air pollution levels and provides feedback in the form of LED light. When the air is heavily polluted, the lights within this dress pulsate quickly to alert the wearer and those nearby. A similar system by designers Nien Lam and Susan Ngo also monitors the air quality, yet doing so with a simple color change in the lungs on the front of the shirt. Last, the work of Stijn Ossevoort is less functional but it remains beautiful – a dress that lights up as gusts of wind pass by.

Dress lights up as gusts of wind pass by (photo from the

When the air is heavily polluted, the lights within this dress pulsate quickly to alert the wearer and those nearby (photo from the

You can read more about how technology drives fashion trends here.

Submitted by: Marissa Caniano, Administrative Assistant

Up Down