The problem with wearable tech is that all too often it simply isn’t wearable. Some designs are so aggressively nerdy-looking that the fashion-conscious won’t even think about donning them.
London-based company CuteCircuit is trying to change that. Designers Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz marry high fashion and high tech on the runway, making clothes that are as breathtaking as they are sophisticated.
CuteCircuit’s newest collection recently debuted in a sci-fi fantasy of a runway show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It featured glittering garments equipped with LED lights and models who used a smartphone app to make their outfits change color, glow in the dark, and play video loops.
“Integrating fashion and technology is not an easy thing to do, and you’ll still find people that think we send a garment out with a gigantic car battery and thick electric wires inside,” CuteCircuit writes on its website.
But designer Rosella manages to make this difficult integration look smooth and seamless. She strings tiny LED lights onto conductive nylon ribbon, which is sewn into traditional fabrics like cotton and silk chiffon, so there are no bulky wires. Batteries are disguised as buttons or clasps. The pieces can be washed with regular clothing.
While some of the pieces in CuteCircuit’s collection would fit in at a Star Wars wedding party (in a good way), most resembled well-designed, non-techified fashion. Before the show, one model didn’t even realizes that her skirt had LED powers–a testament to the subtlety of the tech aspect of these designs.
“Everything in our life is completely digital,” Rosella said in a recent interview with NBC News. “So why does fashion seem like it’s stuck in the Middle Ages? The most advanced technology on most designs are Velcro and zippers.”
Along with several other forward-thinking fashion houses, such as Opening Ceremony, CuteCircuit uses good design to seamlessly integrate tech into the fashion world. They’ve got some high-profile clients– Katy Perry is a fan–and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger once rocked a CuteCircuit gown that livestreamed Twitter updates in shimmering blue.
You can shop CuteCircuit’s collections here.