Smart textiles recognised as fashion designs

22 Oct 2011

Smart textiles in fashion is becoming more recognised, as a number of clothing companies are established to exploit the technology, allowing them to make stand-out designs.

Rainbow Winters produces fashion items that incorporate wearable electronics. Source: Rainbow WintersOne such collection is by Rainbow Winters. Started by designer Amy Winters in 2011, the pieces all use smart fabrics to express different elements of fashion, and to add interest to the collection. Since being founded in 2010, the company has already started selling products in a selection of global outlets.

The company has already launched two collections, a spring/summer range and an autumn/winter range, each featuring intricately designed pieces that use conductive inks to enhance their characteristics. Pieces change colour, and emit light and soft glow from the materials used, in various circumstances. Meanwhile, ongoing projects include holographic fabrics, illuminated clothing and sound-reactive products.

Achieving interest

There is already a growing interest in using smart textiles in fashion, adding another attention-grabbing element to the designer's options.

Winters comments: 'The smart textiles fashion industry has grown quickly in the last two years - mainly due to the Internet and blogging. There are sites dedicated to this collaboration between fashion and technology, such as Talk2myShirt and ElectricFoxy, which document and reference every new story and technology collaboration.'

Smart fashion has caught the eye of mainstream media much more over the last year. Pop group the Black Eyed Peas recently completed a world tour, in which lead singer Fergie wore a dress covered in small OLED lighting panels, supplied by Philips. Singer Katy Perry also wore a colour-changing LED dress to an awards ceremony. The dress was designed by CuteCircuit, a UK company established to exploit the smart textile industry.

A number of others are working in developing smart textiles for fashion, such as New York-based Studio 5050 and Angel Chang.

As fashion is crossing with technology, both technical and mainstream media are keen to show the advances and concepts, doubling coverage. Rainbow Winters will also be showcasing its collections at the upcoming UK Plastic Electronics Show at the Birmingham NEC in November 2011.

Winters also knows that industry awareness needs to continue growing. 'The integration of electronics in clothing is show-stopping and will draw initial attraction but we need to work together to make more sophisticated applications that are interactive to move forward the fashion and technology industry beyond a gimmick.'

Rainbow Winters will present on its smart textile products at the UK Plastic Electronics Show 2011, at the NEC, Birmingham, on 9-10 November.

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