Fashion Tech: Who Wore It First?

By Padmini Parthasarathy 

In old movies, the fashion of the future was tin foil and clunky gadgets.

But today's designers have created something a little more interesting. Those on the cutting edge are using everything from LED displays to 3-D printers to push fashion forward. The future is here, and it is not your grandma’s version. From leather that reacts to sound, to speakers that look like clutch purses, here is some of the trendiest and techiest fashion out there:


CuteCircuit Video Leather Jackets for U2

CuteCircuit has been pushing the envelope in wearable technology since it launched in 2004. London-based designers Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz are the powerhouse duo behind the high-tech designs. CuteCircuit recently showed at New York Fashion Week. The designs have integrated LED displays in skirt panels and on sleeves. The models decided which light patterns would be shown on the runway using their mobile phones.

Alexander Wang

Heat-Activated Clothes, Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Fashion powerhouse Alexander Wang debuted his new techy collection at New York Fall Fashion Week. The collection features utilitarian purses with attachable compartments for phones and thermoses. During the remarkable finale, he debuted heat-activated, color-changing coats. The models stood on a rotating platform as heat was blown on them to activate the materials, which had been laser-cut in intricate paisley and woven into square patterns.

Rainbow Winters

Rainbow Winters Thunderstorm Dress

Amy Winters’s Rainbow Winters line features materials that respond to sound. Her holographic leather "Thunderstorm Dress" morphs into a lightning bolt pattern as the volume increases. Sensors connect to the fiber optics woven through the material to create this incredible effect.


Diffus Climate Dress

Copenhagen-based Diffus combines traditional techniques with innovative technology and materials to create cutting-edge fashion. Their "Climate Dress" is a piece that reacts to carbon dioxide fluctuations in the environment. The team has also designed a solar-powered purse. We now live in a world where our purses can charge our cell phones! Also, when you open the purse at night, it generates a soft glow inside the bag to help you find your things in the dark.

Andreia Chaves

Andreia Chaves 3-D Printed Invisible Shoe

Designer Andreia Chaves has made full use of the now commercially available 3-D printer to design and print shoes. Her "Invisible Shoe" is made of leather and 3-D printed reflective nylon that obscures the wearer’s feet. When walking around, the shoe’s mirrored surface reflects its surroundings, which almost makes it invisible. Chaves has experimented with everything from wooden blocks to 24-carat gold. Her 3-D printed looks truly push the envelope in fashion innovation.

Stellé & Rebecca Minkoff


Minkoff Audio Clutch

Rebecca Minkoff has teamed up with Stellé, a self-styled "audio couture" brand, to design the audio clutch. The gadget syncs up wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled device and is portable as a little purse.


Main image:  Cafe Neu Romance via flickr