Skip to Content
Uncategorized

The Melding of Technology and Fashion

Shape-changing dresses and music-playing sweaters were just some of the wearable technologies at the Seamless: Computational Couture fashion show.
January 31, 2008
“X-travagant X-pansionism” (above) is designed by Grace D. Johnson. The dress was inspired by the elegance of peacocks and the Baroque period, and it has a spring-loaded tail.
Credit: Brittany Sauser

Two fashion designers and sisters, Dana and Karla Karwas, have used novel materials to build a “party dress” that turns into an inhabitable structure. In essence, you can sleep in what you partied in.

This is just a glimpse at the Seamless: Computational Couture fashion show, presented on January 30 at the Museum of Science in Boston. Emerging designers from all over the world displayed the latest mesh of chic designs and technological innovation. Many of these “wearable technologies” are still in their infancy and hardly seem practical, but the designs were edgy and distinct, and they’re sure to provoke and inspire the industry.

Steven Rosengard, the show’s emcee and a recent participant on the reality series Project Runway, says that there is a movement in the fashion industry toward the use of technology. The technology at the show that Rosengard says has the most commercial appeal is a pair of jackets that have light-emitting diode arrays woven into the back of the fabrics. When the wearers touch jackets, a text message or design appears on their backs (see image below). The jacket can display whatever message the users choose.

Another collection at the show that caught my eye was “Solar Vintage,” by English designer Elena Corchero. She has incorporated organic solar cells into lace materials to make pieces, such as a handheld fan, a belt, and an umbrella. The solar cells charge light-emitting diodes, also embedded in the fabric, during the day so that the apparel can glow at night (see image below).

“It is very interesting how technology is approaching textiles and how they are coming together,” says Corchero. “But at the same time, technology does not seem to respect that textiles are a very antique medium.” Her pieces are very feminine, colorful, and delicate. Corchero says that she will start shipping items in March and April for approximately $2,000 per garment.

Other collections at the show included a shirt that uses kinetic energy to power gadgets, a garment that allows a wearer to feel the experience of a surgical incision, a ring that displays a wearer’s Google hits (modeled by Red Sox pitcher Manny Delcarmen), and a shirt that reflects Wi-Fi strength.

The show was entertaining and electrifying. Although many of these designs will never reach the market, they are making a statement.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Russian servicemen take part in a military drills
Russian servicemen take part in a military drills

How a Russian cyberwar in Ukraine could ripple out globally

Soldiers and tanks may care about national borders. Cyber doesn't.

Death and Jeff Bezos
Death and Jeff Bezos

Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever

Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

ai learning to multitask concept
ai learning to multitask concept

Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task

The single technique for teaching neural networks multiple skills is a step towards general-purpose AI.

mouse engineered to grow human hair
mouse engineered to grow human hair

Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way

These biotech companies are reprogramming cells to treat baldness, but it’s still early days.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.