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Piya Chakma

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Published on: 15 Apr 2018 by tushit

Will LED clothing have a future?

The boom in light-up fashion consolidates the use of smart fabrics that incorporate tiny LEDs that are activated interacting with the user. Do you dare to take it?

Properties such as low power consumption, long service life, excellent luminous efficiency, high efficiency and low maintenance cost make the passive optoelectronic components of LED technology the most widely used high efficiency lighting system popularized in recent years. In fact, its catalog of applications does not stop expanding over time, giving rise to initiatives as surprising as the fashion of light-up and its LED clothing.

Although it may seem a passing fad or the eccentricity of a celebrity designer, the truth is that LED clothing is consolidating its own business niche in the fashion industry with profits of 1,000 million dollars. But despite the impact that light-up fashion is currently having, we must go back to 2012 to find one of the first precedents of LED clothing designed by the fashion company Cute Circuit for the singer Nicole Scherzinger.

The dress of Cute Circuit combined the LED technology with the social network Twitter and allowed that the tweets launched with the enabled toggle for this purpose, activated the tiny LEDs that had been embedded in the fabric. Shortly after I created the hugshirt dress, which allows to send hugs from a distance by reflecting them in a composition of LEDs, or the Twirkle dress, whose micro LEDs light up and change color with movement. See more at https://lightups.io.

Then numerous fashion houses have been incorporating these tiny luminous devices in their designs with improved technology capable of interacting with the user. One of the British department stores, House of Fraser's, debuted earlier this year at the BAFTA Awards with its improved technology suit based on motion sensors that modulated the intensity of the tiny integrated LEDs.

Beyond the extravagance of calling attention with your luminous clothes, I find other types of applications that would be much more useful in other areas such as sports. For example, the California fashion firm Electric Styles is incorporating this technology in garments such as shoes, sweatshirts or caps that are activated with movement and that would allow, among other things, to improve your visibility while you run at night or drive on the road with your bike.

Electric Styles clothing, much more affordable and economically accessible than the first high fashion prototypes, is becoming popular among the youngest public who have seen in this clothing brand a product according to the current urban lifestyle to the point of increasing your billing up to 10 million dollars per year.

On the other hand, the main Swiss textile manufacturer, Forster Rohner, ensures that the use of intelligent textiles is totally viable and that the LEDs integrated into the fabrics are fully functional in the long term, thanks to the mini batteries of only a few centimeters that they feed them.

In a world, as changing as that of fashion it is difficult to know where the next trends in smart clothes will go, in any case, the continuous advances in LED technology and its applications will never cease to amaze us. 

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