Special effects skirt

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My friend Scott emailed me a link to this awesome skirt that glows from electroluminescent (EL) wire and reflective and transparent fabrics. While the concept is geared toward safety, there are a slew of fun applications that are highly theatrical. There’s a demo on the linked site from this year’s Maker Faire so you can put it together yourself.

I think it’s a bit limited that so few higher ed courses are given on textiles and the directions they’re moving in apparel. Granted, most people in fashion programs are not gearing up for a life in the lab, but the gap between the design world and the high tech world should be a lot smaller at this point than it actually is. Sometimes I’m so surprised by what passes for innovative textile research in the academic apparel world (admittedly I’ve done my own that was somewhat entry level market research-but it grew in some interesting directions). Also, I’m shocked by how little the tech schools utilize the skills of nearby design students to make their stuff at all appealing aesthetically, with strong fit and practical function, not to mention in styles to coordinate with a tech forward buyer/wearer.

Some schools are moving in the right direction, but, I’d love to see more integrative classes, projects, scholarships, etc. that are collaborative between the tech and design people in order to go in the direction that Nike, North Face, and so many more went years ago. Otherwise how are students going to be able to keep up and be prepared for the fashion workforce to come when it’s not just niche and sports brands developing smart textiles apparel products, but when it’s the norm. Perhaps if more students entering the industry were better trained, smart textiles would already be more incorporated into daily wear, as so many technological innovations are already in use in military, sports, and and a few luxury products.

In the meantime, or as an alternative, DIY smart textiles projects are often some of the best items being produced and I’m always thrilled to hear about another cool idea.

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