Technology Aimed to Enhance Your Lifestyle and Fashion Style

“Technology will transform from the role of ‘device’ towards one functioning more as an integrated medium”

You’ve all, hopefully, heard of the phenomenon of 3D printing. I say ‘hopefully’ because if you haven’t yet heard of 3D printing, than your mind is going to truly be boggled when you hear of the possibility of wearable technology. Yet, it seems that that is exactly where we are heading or, should I say, where the fashion industry is heading. Such a journey has been made possible thanks, primarily, to 3D printing which is soon expected to arrive in the homes of many due to its affordability. It’s already been almost eight years since a partnership between Swarovski and Hussein Chalayan led to the first wearable technology item in the form of a dress adorned with crystals and lasers. This laser dress was displayed at the Skin and Bones exhibition, held in the Somerset House in London (see pictures below). According to Anouk Wipprecht, designer of the Synapse dress (more information on this coming later), “technology will transform from the role of ‘device’ towards one functioning more as an integrated medium”. The time has come to see what fashion has to offer the world in the name of intelligence… The following takes a look at some of the progress that has been made in this regard.




Staying with Swarovski, they recently entered into an alliance with Misfit in order to create solar-powered activity trackers made from Swarovski Crystals. These are made, completely, from metal yet remain elegant and minimalistic in style. The garment is further enhanced with LED lights that shine through the crystals and measure the user’s progress. Thanks to fashion inspiration from both Misfit and Swarovski, these garments are being produced in the form of various accessories including rings and bracelets. Thus, whatever your style or preference, there’s an activity tracker for you. In terms of 3D printing being used in fashion, Katya Leonovich, an Italian fashion designer, was one of many to incorporate 3D printing into her Spring 2015 fashion line. See some of her designs in the pictures below. While the current, most available form of ‘ink’ for these printers remains to be plastic, the sky is the limit when it comes to possible materials to be used in the future. These are expected to include: cotton, wool, silk and, even, ‘smart fabric’ which will have the ability to change colour and/or texture. Furthermore, due to the expected availability of 3D printers in the near future, fashion enthusiasts will be able to take part in designing 3D garments themselves; an exciting concept for many!


A fashion item entitled ‘Metamorphosis’ has been found to make use of both 3D printing and technology to make a statement. This kinetic wearable has been designed to respond to its wearer’s alcohol consumption, reflecting the wearer’s confidence levels via pleated origami sleeves that expand and contract. The higher the alcohol consumption (and, therefore, confidence) the more the sleeves expand. According to the designers of Metamorphosis (see pictures below), the design of the dress was inspired by a humorous take on the Korean drinking culture. Richard Nicoll’s integration of technology into fashion came in the form of Lumigram fibre optic fabric which he used to create his Illuminated Garment presented during London Fashion Week, 2014. This piece was designed by Richard in collaboration with Studio XO and Disney. Not just meant for impressive aesthetics, but to represent intelligence in fashion as well, Vigour does a great job of including both of these features. Designed by Pauline van Dongen in cooperation with Tu Eindhoven and Textiel Museum, this exquisitely knitted cardigan is armed with sensors that constantly monitor the wearer’s movement for the purposes of physical therapy and rehabilitation. This data is then transmitted to a mobile app through which patients, therapists, and caretakers are able to measure and keep track of the rehabilitation process.


Finally, perhaps the most impressive of them all, the interactive Synapse dress created by Anouk Wipprecht. This dress, produced in partnership with Italian Architect, Niccolo Casas, and Materialise (provides 3D printing services), is comprised of Intel Edison which assists in representing the wearer’s mental state. This project began as research into the connection between someone’s internal and external state. The result? A dress that is able to record your mood, attitude, and all that you are feeling on the inside, and reflect it on the outside, on your behalf. This is achieved through bio-signals that capture this data through sensors monitoring the heart rate (via Bluetooth), mind (through the head piece) and human proximity (using a WiFi camera). Despite what data is generated, the wearer is still able to manually control the LED lights that reveal what s/he is feeling internally and can also use voice control. Yet, should the wearer be feeling as though their personal space is being compromised, the LED lights will shine blue in order to make this feeling known to the outside world. The dress is even able to capture photos and videos when recognizing that its wearer is in a state of intense concentration. For those of us unable to express what we are feeling, inwardly, this comes as the perfect solution! In addition to the Synapse dress, Anouk had developed an app to collect the data captured in order to create a ‘mood map’ of sorts. The wearer is than able to review this in order to find out more about what stirs them emotionally.


And so, it seems that wearing clothes made, only, out of fabric is a thing of the past. Those interested in fashion – if they haven’t already – need to wake up to the fact that wearable technology has arrived and is, most probably, here to stay. Whether you would love to wear something in 3D or have your clothes measure your mood swings, there’s an invention to suit every preference. You can even start creating your own wearable technology right now (without a 3D printer)! Click here for a tutorial on how to incorporate LED lighting into a favourite piece of clothing – or one yet to be made/bought. Sure, you may get a few stares when wearing your lit-up dress/top, but just give it some time. It’s the starers who don’t have a clue, not you!

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