When I see performers like Kanye West and Lady Gaga sporting light up clothing and accessories I can’t help but think that this could be a glimpse into the near future of fashion. The visceral use of the technology lends itself in performance but could there actually be a real world purpose? Yes, but not yet. A new technology called Lumalive has emerged, and like most fashion technology collaborations, Lumalive is best suited as marketing buzz. Until there are more fashion designers that understand material technology and see the big picture, we will continue to see frivolous high-tech innovations.
Lumalive is a branch off product from Phillips, and specializes in pieces of clothing with embedded LED lights that can create moving images within the textile itself. So far, they have been pushing the idea that this is an eye catching way to promote your company, product or event. The images that are created within the garment are very generic and look like a scrolling movie theater marquee. None the less, the experience is visually stimulating, and as this technology evolves the images will become more complex.
It seems inevitable that its novelty will wear off and that Lumalive will make its way into mainstream retail. Considering how fast trends in fashion move people may just crave a light bright garment for back to school. Now the idea of illuminating clothing becoming accessible doesn’t seem to be so Tron-esque anymore.