Fashion statements just got a whole lot more literal with the advent of LED clothing, which literally sends a message with flashing lights and motion detectors that can light up, change color, or even display tweets with a specific hashtag. In this technologically advanced age, the intersection of a range of industries is producing some pretty incredible results, and this is one of them. And while this type of clothing was initially designed for performers and celebrities, it’s now being marketed to the everyday wearer as well.
Katy Perry may have been one of the first fashionistas to don a light-up LED dress, which she did at the 2010 Met Gala, where she wore a CuteCircuit gown featuring brightly colored rope lights. The company stepped it up a notch when they were commissioned by EE, the U.K.’s first 4G network, to design a dress for Nicole Scherzinger. The digital and fashion masterpiece ultimately featured 2,000 LED lights and 3,000 Swarovski crystals, and showed tweets that were appropriately tagged in real time.
And now, various companies are taking the idea of the LED-enhanced dresses and clothing lines into more attainable markets, allowing the average consumer to get their hands on their own technologically advanced t-shirts, jackets, and even shoes.
As Electric Styles, one of these companies, told CNN, “There is a cultural shift in fashion where the young generation is taking over. Previously, you won’t be able to wear them because they were considered weird but people today want to be a little weird. It’s a form of expression.”
Other companies, like New York-based Switch Embassy, allow you to broadcast whatever message you want on their shirts by effectively texting messages to yourself. Ultimately, the entire notion of clothing is being made more interactive, allowing emotions to be spelled out across your chest as well as your face.
CuteCircuit’s CEO Francessa Rosella told CNN that her company’s latest dress, which changes color based on the wearer’s movement, encourages more activity. “It’s a very interactive dress. It makes you want to move more and be active to showcase the color.” Put that in a running top, and maybe CuteCircuit will pioneer the next exercise revolution.