Would You Wear A Fibre Optic Dress?

Would You Wear A Fibre Optic Dress?

Emma -
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What would you say if someone told you your dress simply made you glow? How flattering, right? Compliments like that – yes, please, keep ‘em coming! But what if it wasn’t really a compliment, and they just stated the obvious? I mean, what if your dress literally glowed, and made you look like… Tinkerbell? – How would that even be possible? Well, I’m not talking fairy magic dust. I’m talking smart fabrics.

The Tinkerbell dress stole the show at London Fashion Week. Made from fibre optic fabric activated by incorporated LEDs, the dust fairy-inspired dress sprung from Richard Nicoll’s creative genius and was translated into reality by London-based fashion and technology company Studio XO. A successful collaboration that left everyone at the event in awe. The dress was well received by the audience, with voices calling it the “Tinkerbell of the 21st century” and praising its ethereal glow effect.

Indeed, this is an “example of truly beautiful wearable tech.” But is it the first one?


The Tinkerbell dress may have opened the fashion industry’s eyes with regards to fibre optic textiles because it appeared at a highly publicized event. But fashion designers have started experimenting with such smart fabrics way before, and celebrities like Rihanna, Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas have shown their interest in supporting this trend a number of times.

CuteCircuit are constantly integrating smart fabrics into their collections, and they’re working with celebrities to promote them. Remember Katy Perry’s outfit at the Met Costume Institute Gala in 2010? New York-based designer Rachel Reichert has also included the fibre optic corset dress in her 2013 CyBelle Horizon fashion collection. And there’s even one stunning example that has gone far beyond celebrity uptake, and landed under fashionistas’ greedy eyes. I’m talking about San Francisco-based designer Natalie Walsh’s “jellyfish” dress for the Instructables – there’s even a full tutorial provided on their website on how to make a fibre optic dress, which fashionistas have gone crazy for.

And this is the interesting part: people wanting to make such dresses for themselves. The obvious reason would be because they actually want to wear them. But are there enough courageous people to wear such an outfit at, say… a formal party? The answer is again “No.”

Thing is, these dresses, while breath-taking, they’re still at a point where people see them as a bit costumy. Fashion-forward, yes. But actually wearable? Not really.

However, the fibre optic dress may actually be the future of elegant, sophisticated garment. [Tweet this!]


How near is that future? Go ahead, share your thoughts!


Tech writer covering fab trends in fashion, technology, retail and whatever lies at the intersection of these fields. My name is Emma, but you can call me Fashion Techie :)


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