…Created in collaboration with London-based fashion and technology company Studio XO, this slip dress was made from a fibre optic fabric activated by high intensity LEDs tailored within it. The result was almost like an ethereal glow.
As Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency, which brought Richard Nicoll, Studio XO and Disney together, said: “It created a magical pixie dust effect down the catwalk.” And that wasn’t far off the truth. The typically frosty fashion crowd accordingly gave a very positive reception.
The Independent referred to it as “Tinkerbell for the 21st Century”, while Tatler’s fashion associate tweeted: “FAINTING over the opening look at Richard Nicoll – a light up fibre optic LED minidress. HELL YES.”
“It was imperative for Richard that what went down the catwalk was ‘fashion’ not ‘tech’. The gasps were audible as the dress appeared, it was a huge moment for fashion technology. We’d built something that was truly desirable,” Drinkwater added.
We’ve become so caught up with wearables being about devices that offer us some form of communication strapped to our arms rather than sat in our pockets, or tracking our steps and measuring our heart rates – and trying to tie that in so wholeheartedly with the fashion industry – that maybe we’ve just forgotten that what we’re actually after is something that just genuinely looks great…
…Speaking at a fashion and tech talk hosted by the British Fashion Council during London Fashion Week, Nancy Tilbury, co-founder and director of Studio XO, said: “The technology is starting to disappear making it the ideal time for the fashion industry to get involved. The textile world is about to come alive because of these wonderful new technologies.”
She imagines a future less than 10 years away where we will be able to change the surface of our clothes; where we’ll be able to walk into a room and transform what we’re wearing like a chameleon does his skin.
Drinkwater refers to the Richard Nicoll project as “a stepping stone to designers genuinely using hi-tech materials within their collection as a matter of course”. It’s important that it doesn’t feel like the ‘jarring tech-piece’, he explained. “I’m asked regularly what clothes will look like in the future and I really believe that if fashion tech is to be successful then they will look as they do now. I want the clothes to be the story, [so] the tech must be integrated seamlessly.”
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