The ‘wow’ factor of Textile Illumination

Integrating light elements into clothing never ever fails to attract astonishment and the ‘wow’ effect when unsuspecting people come for the first time in contact with illuminated clothing.

I experienced this first hand while working on illuminated textiles, a rewarding feeling for the designer. What puzzles me is why textile illumination has not been more adopted by now by fashion brands.

There are a few exceptions like the gorgeous light emitting dresses from MOON Berlin and Cute Circuit and a range of stage-wear created by various designer for artists but besides this very limited availability it’s still dark in the fashion world.

How exiting illuminated fashion is has been once again demonstrated by fashion graduate student Caitleen Moloney at the CIT (Canberra Institute of Technology) in Australia last December.

For her final year project Caitleen designed five outfits featuring LED’s integrated into pockets that create indirect, soft light effects.

Caitleen Moloney does not see this type of fashion design ready for every day wear but is more interested in costume design for performing art and artists.

Is it because textile illumination is not yet developed to a point where it can be used for consumer products? If this is the case the challenge would be in the wearable tech community to do the homework and create reliable systems fit for use in ready-to-wear fashion.

Fashion represents a very emotional, luxury item in our life, it does not (only) fulfill a basic functional need. Fashion is allowed to dream, to imagine, to be playfully creative yet, in reality, our fashion in the ready-to-wear market is made from very traditional materials, the creativity is limited to cut and color variations.

How well received textile illumination can be … read the last part of the Canberra Times article featuring Caitleen Moloney’s illuminating collection.

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