Electric Fashion


As a design consultant to Dupont Soft Textiles and Interiors (previous to their sale to Koch Industries) my role was to help develop new uses for conductive fibers (a smart textile as light as thread). When sewn into a garment, the conductive fibers transport electricity around the body. Why would anyone want electricity in clothing? Simple, conductive fibers made the Burton AMP jacket, Nike IPOD and Adidas POLAR collaboration possible. Conductive materials have advanced quickly. They are extremely light, flexible and waterproof, an effective way to integrate electronics, lights and displays into fashion.

Then why is electric fashion not more popular? The power-source creates limitations. Batteries are expensive, short lived and require extra maintenance.

I am now focusing my research on the development of organic power sources.

“Scientists have developed a way to generate electricity by jostling fabric with unbelievably tiny wires woven inside, raising the prospect of textiles that produce power simply by being stretched, rustled or ruffled by a breeze,” says Brian Bergstein of the Associated Press.

This innovation uses nano-technology and the piezoelectric effect, in which electricity is generated when pressure is applied to certain materials.

The prospect of using pressure created through normal interaction to power electronics integrated into a garment is exciting. Not available at retail just yet, the Georgia Tech innovation is sure to change the future of fashion. NATALIA ALLEN


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