High(tech) Fashion: Style Meets Technology

What is fashion? Design, art, an expression or something more than that. Incorporating sophisticated, cutting-edge technology design, the fashion industry has evolved into a relentless powerhouse of concepts and ideas. Exemplifying the importance of technology in design, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York chose “Manux x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” as their theme for the 2016 annual fashion exhibit. Unsurprisingly, ensembles that emphasised the theme were the outfits of choice at the opening night ball, known better as the Met Gala. As the stars descended on the red carpet, so did a dose of cool tech (and not just the smartphones).

Acing the night’s best-dressed list was actress Claire Danes, in a custom-made Zac Posen, glow in the dark gown. The voluminous dress owes its uniqueness to a combination of organza and fibre optics that illuminates the gown in the dark. Straight out of a fairy-tale, don’t you think ?

#clairedanes #zacposen #metgala

A photo posted by Zac Posen (@zacposen) on

Model Karolina Kurkova injected life into the gala event with her flashing LED lit “compassionate dress.” The frock lit up in different colours in tandem with reactions from fans on social media. This futuristic invention was a result of an ingenious collaboration between Marchesa and IBM.

While we await the unveiling of the new iPhone 7 or an advanced app or gadget to hit the market, the fashion industry is steadily slipping out of its cocoon to break traditional constraints, as a number of remarkable brands and designers—from Zac Posen to emerging names like Erina Kashihara and Nexxus—are reinventing the notion of wearable technology. Even homegrown designers experiment with technology (albeit sporadically) like Pankaj & Nidhi who have, in the past, interpreted geometric design with glowing lights.

Take for instance Sensoree Design Labs. While we are all aware that fashion is a form of expression, this San Francisco-based tech company takes the idea to a new level with their emotion sensitive clothing.  Sensoree creates wearable technology to augment sensory processing disorder which causes conditions like autism and ADHD. Their brain mapping headgear and sweaters with mood responsive collars may be a far cry from standard runway collections but that hasn’t hindered the company from creating a buzz in the industry.

Next: Imagine a world where you could navigate and explore cities hands-free without the use of maps or GPS devices. Sounds like space-age technology, doesn’t it? Not to Wearable Experiments, an Australian fashion and technology company that has materialised the idea with navigation jackets.The wearer is directed to their destination through vibrations in the sleeves of the jacket, that is fitted with lights and an inbuilt GPS unit linked to a custom made app.

At the very heart of these singular innovations, fashion meets functionality. The wheels of change are in motion, it is clear that clothes are no longer pieces of fabric sewn together with pretty embellishments. Tech-luxe fashion is the next big thing to watch out for.

Featured image courtesy Erina Kashihara via MakeFashion

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