Illuminated Fashion Challenge on Project Runway

Last night's episode (episode 9) of Project Runway challenged the five remaining All Star designers to fashion illuminated garments. The results unfortunately were rather disappointing. This group of talented designers weren't able to move past the "Burning Man" or "Tron" aesthetic. 

 

Which leads me to the following question: Is illuminated fashion just a gimmick?

Design by Austin 


Design by Mondo 

Design by Michael


Design by Kenley


Design by Jerell







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Tags: Illuminated Fashion

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Comment by Espen Klem on March 12, 2012 at 1:32pm

Don't think it's so wrong just to illuminate, but more how you do it. But then again: I guess I'm obligated to say so, since my ongoing project is a purse with incorporated LEDs =)

Comment by Syuzi on March 4, 2012 at 10:21am

LEDs are the "Hello World" of wearable tech  — that's why you see so many projects that simply incorporate light. Once individuals develop more programming skills and understanding of the potential of wearable tech, projects do eventually move past just illuminated garments. At this time, those projects may be far and few in between but it may take years to really develop the skills or find the right people to work with to move beyond the "light." It's happening....slowly...but it's happening. 

Comment by Luiza Prado on March 4, 2012 at 7:51am

Just my two cents:

Although I don't really feel that there is a "right" and a "wrong" way to do illuminated fashion (or anything in fashion, for that matter), I do feel that the addition of LEDs and other light-emitting components to garments is being marketed as the face of wearable tech when it is, more often than not, used merely for decorative purposes. This is such a beautiful field, full of very rich possibilities for exploration besides these obvious - and rather shallow, if you pardon my sincerity - employments of technology. I'm not arguing against projects that make use of LEDs, but I've been asking myself why do so many "wearable tech" projects make use of technology merely as embellishment. Of course illuminated fashion has a very obvious commercial potential - it's showy and has that modern, cutting-edge aura - but I've seen one too many academic projects that take the same approach and merely skim the surface of wearable tech.

Comment by meg on March 3, 2012 at 7:49am

the few episodes i've seen of this series have impressed me with the participants ability to whip up incredible creations in such a short timeframe.  these outfits are all fantastic performance wear, but it seems like none of them were brave enough to tone it right down.  and, yes, props to the show for choosing such a challenging theme!

Comment by Melissa Coleman on March 2, 2012 at 2:48pm

Such timing. Sergio this is exactly what we were discussing last night at the e-textile workspace in Holland (http://www.v2.nl/lab/projects/e-textile-workspace) - a report will be posted later.  We had about 9 fashion students over from the Arnhem fashion masters. I think the agreement was that basically a good designer will be able to make it work, but subtlety is key. An interesting point somebody made that evening is that when you make a collection you really have to think it through and a showpiece may not always work with the other pieces. It may just be the lack of experience with designing light together with the timeframe that made these results so flat. Syuzi, I totally agree that it's really great that the show took on this challenge. If I didn't just talk to so many fashion-peoples I would have been concerned that it would confirm preconceptions but I think that in the last few years some beautiful pieces have been made with light and those who've chosen to stay updated know about it and know that it can be done well. In any case, I think this is progress. More regular people will now understand the concept of light in garments. :)

Comment by Syuzi on March 2, 2012 at 11:04am

Well said Sergio. Ultimately I feel like the designers were uncomfortable and hence resorted to visual tropes found in pop culture. I am pretty Impressed with Project Runway to bring on this particular challenge though :)

Comment by Sérgio Avlis on March 2, 2012 at 10:55am

 I completely agree with you, unfortunately it was rather disappointing. I feel that illuminated garments have the stigma of being "gimmicky"  do to the purpose and who is behind creating it. If it is done right with taste and a good purpose other than a carnival parade,  of course illuminated garments can have much more use and power when used in stages for performances than everyday life. Light was created for the night life. Lights should be used to enhance the piece like embroidery does. There is always a fine line between fashion and costume when it comes to technology and the designer who creates needs to be able to determine that difference and set themselves apart to the direction that they are going for.

Comment by Cheryl on March 2, 2012 at 10:54am
I was really disappointed with this challenge, and thought it could have been so much more. I hoped they would be more integrated into the outfit, and those glowing parts were mostly blacklight reactive tape vs lit clothing. A let down.




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