iStyle: The future of fashion

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From dresses that display digital messages to 3D-printed clothes, technology is set to revolutionise our wardrobes, says Stephanie Hirschmiller

How great would it be if someone invented a dress which doubled up as a mobile phone? Turns out they have already. The wearable-technology label CuteCircuit designed a prototype back in 2005. More recent creations include the LED dress donned by Katy Perry on American Idol last year and the Twitter dress Nicole Scherzinger wore to the launch of EE in Battersea Power Station in November. Fans could literally tweet the dress, which displayed their messages in real time.

The design house’s co-founder Francesca Rosella was one of the speakers at a workshop on wearable technology last week at a girls’ school in London and where the school’s Year 9s (and yours truly) got down to the serious business of designing some flashing LED T-shirts and programming pairs of sunglasses.

The event, run by Little Miss Geek (LMG; littlemissgeek.com), a social-enterprise arm of Lady Geek, a campaigning agency making technology accessible and appealing to women, also featured talks by LMG’s chief executive, Belinda Parmar, and Clara Mercer, the marketing director of the British Fashion Council (BFC), and sponsorship from tech giants Microsoft and Dell.

The BFC has a partnership with  Vodafone which sponsors designers to work creatively with its technology. Last year, it was Richard Nicoll, who unveiled a bag with a built-in charger for a mobile device. Most excited about innovations in 3D printing, Mercer is confident it will crop up in a Marc by Marc Jacobs accessories collection in the not-too-distant future.

Francesca Rosella started out designing for Valentino, but when ideas for GPS handbags were not met with enthusiasm, she launched her own firm. In 2010, her “Galaxy” dress (created from 24,000 micro LEDs) was displayed at Chicago’s MSI museum, caught Katy Perry’s attention, and the rest is history. A SIM card slotted into the tag on her prototype mobile-phone dress and a microphone and speaker in the cuff mean you just lift your hand to ear to answer. (It’s also washable!)

But back to that circuit board. With a little help from the LMG team, my LED was soon flashing with the best of them.

It is testament to the power of fashion that Google chose the US designer Diane von Furstenberg’s New York show last year to premiere its Google Glass augmented-technology specs. According to Parmar, fashion and technology “have collided and fashion is driving how we integrate technology into our clothes”.

Parmar is also hugely excited about innovations in 3D printing – not least the first dress to be produced on a 3D printer unveiled this year by Dita Von Teese – but she is more interested in wearable technology taking on a pivotal role in our lives. Current favourite invention is the programmable GPS shoe created by Dominic Wilcox: “They have an antenna which tells you which direction to go via flashing LED lights – just like Dorothy clicking her heels in The Wizard of Oz!”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

    MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Sub-System Design Verification engineer

    Flexible working, annual bonus, pension & more.: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the oppor...

    MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Architect

    Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

    MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Design Engineer

    Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor