As we creep farther into the 21st century, the fashion world seems to be getting restless with rehashing the same old trends decade after decade. Designers with an eye toward the future are toying with technology to see if we can finally enter the Jetson era of fashion. In recent years the use of lights and displays on garments has been of particular interest.
Currently on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is the “Galaxy Dress.” The garment is the center pieced of the "Fast Forward: Inventing the Future" exhibit, with spotlight technological advancement in several industries. The exhibit closes January 2, 2010 but the dress is a part of the museum permanent collection. The dress, embroidered with 24,000 color LEDs , is the largest wearable display in the world. Each LED measures a mere 2mm by 2mm is thin and flat like paper.
But while the Galaxy Dress may have mastered technology, it’s still somewhat dated on the design end. Enter Gareth Pugh. The English fashion designer is know for his avant garde style and made his own contribution to the haute tech trend for a Spring 2006 collection. Pugh version uses OLEDs - or organic light-emitting diodes - which are touted to produce light more efficiently than traditional LEDs. But while the design is decidedly more fashion forward, the rigid result of layering fabric with the technology made the technique truly unwearable.
A few other designers have tried their hands at use LEDs in their creations, but it’s yet to emerge into the mainstream as anything more than a spectacle. Where we might actual see the technology in use in with accessories, like ultra-thing wrist watches and in interiors - where edgy home owners can use the flexible displays to impressive effect on walls and even furniture.