The Illuminated fashion line-up

[gallery] From the stage to the shelves, illuminated clothing seems to be paving the way right now for wearable technology to reach a wider audience. As I was once skeptical about "blinking" garments, these designers are integrating lights in ways that connect emotionally, making this an exciting area in wearable technology. Here's a line-up of incredible explorations along with products that are making it to market:

Vega Jacket by Angella Mackey One of the first illuminated garment to make it to market! This absolutely gorgeous jacket includes integrated lights that help you get around town safely on your bike. "Whether for fun, fashion or visibilty at night, it can be for commuting by foot or riding on a bicycle. However you express yourself, this is something new and exciting to play with—a unique addition to your wardrobe." Continue reading.

Black-Eye Peas Super Bowl couture by Anouk Wipprecht In collaboration with Bea Akerlund, they created stage outfits embedded with technology for the Black-Eye Pea's Super Bowl half time performance. The garments included Luminex shoes worn by the lead singer, Fergie, that Anouk created with master shoemaker Rene van den Berg. Continue reading.

I'm Not A Robot collection by Moon Berlin A collection of illuminated garments created by Brigitte Franken and Christian Bruns of Moon Berlin. The collection includes dresses, tops, and pants with integrated lights and illuminating woven fibers. Continue reading.

Into the Deep collection by Vega Wang This gorgeous collection that consist of light-emitting garments. “The concept for my collection came from watching a BBC DVD called Deep Blue." Continue reading her interview.

Kenetic Dress by CuteCircuit The KineticDress captures the wearer’s movements and interaction with others and display this data through the electroluminescent embroidery that covers the external skirt section of the dress. Continue reading.

Pedal Pusher by Syuzi Pakhchyan In collaboration with Magdalena Paluch, Pedal Pusher is an ongoing investigation into the biking community for women. The stylish shoe illuminates for safetey and is powered by the bike's pedals. Continue reading.

Stage and red-carpet couture by CuteCircuit CuteCircuit has been creating a collection of stage and red-carpet couture including a hand pleated silk chiffon dress embedded with over 5400 LEDs, and displays video from a real-time stream for Safura, Katy Perry's illuminated red carpet dress for the MET Ball, and NYC Boys debut performance trousers and shirts that changed color and brightness in synchronicity with the choreographed performance. All controlled in realtime by the lighting DJ. Continue reading.

A collection of garments that illuminate and change color in an instant

A lot of designers have been exploring the idea of garments that can illuminate and change color in an instant based on mood, movement and environmental factors. There are still no practical display solutions for wearable technology aside from some attempts at flexible displays, some clever applications of smart inks and Philip's investment in flexible light fabrics. But this hasn't stopped designers from exploring the possibilities. Here is a collection of projects that change color by covering the surface of the garment with LEDs. Cutecircuit Galaxy Dress Cutecircuit's Galaxy Dress may not be wearable, but it certainly is an engineering achievement. Covered in 10's of thousands of LEDs, this dress subtly shifts color and creates a gorgeous pattern of light across the entire surface. I can't help but wonder how heavy it is and how warm it gets while all the lights are on. Regardless, it's a good exploration about the possibilities.

Hussein Chalayan video dress Similar to the Galaxy Dress, Hussein Chalayan's video dress is made up of thousands of LEDs that cover the surface. He added an outer layer of fabric that defuses the light, which smoothes and softens the effect.

Philips Design Probes: Skin Dress One of Philips Design Probes labeled "Skin" examines the future integration of sensitive materials in the area of emotional sensing. This exploration covers a garment in soft deffused LEDs to illustrate how emotive technology can use pattern and color change to interact and predict the emotional state of the wearer.

A bridal application With all of this illuminated fabrics exploration, we are beginning to see attempts to bring the concepts into real world applications. Brittany Beltz integrated hundreds of LEDs into her wedding gown and surprised the audience by illuminating the garment during her first dance with her new husband.

Katy Perry's Glowing Met Costume Gala Gown (Shown in the above photo) We are also finding illuminated garments find their way into the entertainment and music industry. While attending a red carpet event for the Met Costume Gala, Katie Perry wrapped herself in an illuminated gown created by Cutecircuit. The gown included LED lights that were controlled by a switch that was hidden inside Perry's bra. Read more about this garment at

All of these solutions will have non-trivial challenges such as power and heat. Although these explorations are gorgeous, I am still waiting to see a practical application.

Top image from ecouterre.