The future of fashion: Internet-connected clothing

A model at a Cuitecurcuit catwalk event wears an illuminated dress.

Categories: Technology

Photo courtesy of CuteCircuit

8 January 2016


The internet has changed every part of society, from our homes and workplaces to the way we shop and educate ourselves.

One of the more unusual ways the internet is being used is to enhance and personalise clothing. Wearable technology pioneers CuteCircuit have been a driving force in the fashion world since 2004, creating garments which utilise the internet in innovative ways. 2012 saw the launch of the Twitter dress – an elaborate garment which displays tweets across the front. The dress is embellished with tiny LED lights which can be controlled to create patterns, colours and even words. In its launch event, the digital dress was worn by singer Nicole Scherzinger and audience members were encouraged to #tweetthedress and see their messages light up and scroll across the surface of the dress.

Other garments designed by CuteCircuit contain systems of lights which link up with the CuteCircuit smartphone app. The wearer of the clothing has the ability to change the colour and decorative pattern of the garments they are wearing, all through the power of an internet connection. In CuteCircuit fashion shows, models even carry smartphones down the catwalk with them, demonstrating how their garments can be personalised with a swipe of the screen.

In order to create fashion with such intricate digital technology, CuteCircuit has had to be forward-thinking in their approach to hardware. Anything they use must be small enough to blend in with the fabric and flexible enough to allow the wearer to move. Designers Ryan Genz and Francesca Rosella developed soft, flexible circuits that would give the desired effect, whilst being comfortable to wear and invisible until activated. The challenge of creating an interactive fabric that feels like normal fabric is what CuteCircuit spent years of effort developing. Thanks to the combination of microtechnology such as micro-LEDs and conductive fibres, coated in gold and silver particles, this vision has become a reality.

The internet has paved the way for fashion to become a truly interactive and personal experience. At present internet-enabled fashion is a luxury, limited to high-end buyers and special events. However, with the widespread use of smartphones and the growing popularity of wearable technology with consumers, perhaps in the future we will see internet-enabled fashion available on the high street.

To find out more about CuteCircuit, click here to visit their website

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