Tech fashion is becoming increasingly popular- designers have created some pretty incredible things by mixing fabric and electronics. So why aren’t more designers doing it?
Getting clothing to hold a charge can be tricky- batteries only last so long, and the wearer certainly can’t be expected to stand plugged into a wall all day.
Fortunately, Dutch designer Pauline van Dongen has figured out a more streamlined and eco-friendly solution to these issues.
Rather than relying on the typical hardware used in wearable electronics, van Dongen has brought in a much more contemporary piece of technology to integrate into her cutting-edge fashions- solar power.
While clothing created with solar powered fabric could conjure images of being covered in rigid, ungainly panels, this is most definitely not the case with Van Dongen’s designs.
The garments are beautiful, comfortable, and functional- definitely clothes you will want to wear!
Rather than panels, many small stiff and flexible solar “cells” are integrated into the fabric. The garments are designed in such a way that they can be out in the open when the sun is shining, and folded away out of sight when they are no longer needed. This way, the look and hand of the fabrics are retained as much as possible.
So now that the process of harnessing energy has been streamlined, what do we use it for?
Van Dongen’s garments have been designed specifically to charge cell phones. One of her dresses is able to give a smartphone a full charge after only two hours of exposure to the sun!
This is particularly useful for those who love camping or festivals- it is a lightweight, portable power source that you can take anywhere.
While the technology has not quite been perfected yet (for example, the fabric is not yet washable) the potential uses for this textile are numerous, perhaps even spanning beyond fashion. “There are so many surfaces out there that we don’t use in such an efficient way,” Van Dongen points out.
But it looks like she’s on her way to improving the situation.