London-based designers Ryan Genz and Francesca Rosella create clothes worthy of sci-fi fashionistas. Their latest CuteCircuit collection, which debuted at this year's New York Fashion Week, features miniskirts, jackets, dresses, and accessories with LED-lit designs controlled by an iPhone app.
"We're trying to bring a new dimension, to have everything be controlled by iPhone or a smartphone of some kind, so there's some way users wearing interactive garments have really cool ways to control what they're wearing," Genz explained behind the scenes of CuteCircuit's fashion show.
During CuteCircuit's New York Fashion Week show, models using smartphone apps controlled when lit messages, designs, and animations were displayed across miniskirts, shirts, dresses, jackets, and various accessories they wore.
"Many years ago people would put on sequins because they wanted their clothes to sparkle, and there's times you don't want your clothes to sparkle, but if you can make them interactive you can make them sparkle when you want them to," Genz said in the backstage video.
CuteCircuit is well-known for its fashion-meets-tech creations, including Katy Perry's MET Gala silk chiffon gown adorned with 3,000 colorful lights, and Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger's Twitter Dress, which displays tweets in real time.
"At CuteCircuit we believe that wearable technology is not a gadget strapped to your wrist," CuteCircuit's Web site states. "A piece of wearable technology should be a beautiful garment that allows the human body to become an interface, a sort of second skin, that can connect us to people and places, even faraway and remote ones."
It's this desire to connect people that inspired CuteCircuit to design interactive clothes that send messages to wearers at a great distance with its HugShirt. This unusual garment is embedded with sensors that "feel the strength of the touch, the skin warmth and the heartbeat rate of the sender, and actuators that recreate the sensation of touch, warmth, and emotion of the hug to the shirt of the distant loved one," CuteCircuit claims.
As a Bluetooth accessory for a Java-enabled mobile phone, all the data from the HugShirt is transmitted from the sensors to the phone. "Sending hugs is as easy as sending an SMS and you will be able to send hugs while you are on the move, in the same way and to the same places you are able to make phone calls," the CuteCircuit site promises.
While the concepts of CuteCircuit's clothes may sound gimmicky, wearabilty and a high-fashion look are still a priority of the line's designers.
"Integrating fashion and technology is not an easy thing to do and you'll still find people that think we send a garment out with a gigantic car battery and thick electric wires inside," CuteCircuit explains on its Web site. "This is not the case fortunately. The fabrics we develop are as thin as other fabrics and as comfortable, the batteries are microscopic (like a 50-cent coin for example), the only difference between a CuteCircuit garment and other garments is that CuteCircuit's garments bring magic and fun into your wardrobe."
(Via Fast Company)