Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Living In The Light

    Technology and textiles couple constantly. In fact it would be well nigh impossible for us to clothe ourselves these days without the incessant flow of fabrics that shoot out of computerized looms the world over.  That technology continues to advance.  Robotics has enabled textiles of previously only hand worked complexity to be produced in mass quantity.  Digital printing has broken the borders of what was achievable and allowed designers to express new thoughts and emotional states with pattern and color.
    And now, the digital realm is moving into the very substance of the clothing we wear.  Experiments with embedded technology that allow fabrics to access your phone, pad, or laptop exist already, and the design community is hard at work playing with lighting as an integral part of a fabric, or garment.  What drives this is a pair of developments that simplify the idea immensely.  One is led technology, which allows light to be emitted with very low power, for an extended period, and from a very small source.  The other is the flexibility of the method of power, and light transmission. Previously, the wires required to move current were far too stiff and heavy to be at all practical for clothing, but now things like L-wire are letting people make illumination a direct part of the way in which they express through Attire.  Sure, such things are mostly novelties at the moment, confined to costume, and stage performance.
    It is not going to be long, however, before lighted clothing will move into the mainstream.  I see it first showing up as apparel meant for safety reasons.  Bicyclists riding at night could gain a good deal of additional safety with a vest or jacket that was even partially illuminated.  There are ample reasons why having a light source that that either notified others of your presence, or allowed you greater visibility yourself would make such clothing practical.
    That said, we are a curious and contrary species. So it may be instead that it is the novelty, and the frivolous aspect of this tech that will move it more into the mainstream.  You can already purchase on line customized lighted tee shirts and hoodies.  All that keeps this from leaping fully into the Attire lexicon as a completely functional set of terms is the right person, image, and timing.  Trust me on this one though, it's on its way.

    Where and how would you see this in use?

No comments:

Post a Comment