High Tech, High Fashion: 13 Futuristic Green Garments

Wear your love for renewable energy on your sleeve – or your designer handbag, or your stunning LED-embedded gown. Eco fashion is getting increasingly high-tech with embedded solar panels, lights, sensors that detect greenhouse gases and even nanoparticle filters to clean the air. These 13 intriguing designs range from the totally wearable to the sci-fi.

Solar Handbag

This solar handbag by Diffus makes solar panels into a chic fashion accessory, organizing them in a pretty pattern against a black base. The solar cells turn the purse into a ‘portable power station’ to charge your cell phone or other small devices. The inside of the bag even lights up so you can find small objects.

Solar Clothes That Will Charge Your Phone

This futuristic-looking series of solar garments from Pauline van Dongen integrates solar panels into a coat and dress to capture solar energy and convert it to electricity. The solar panels can be hidden at night or when it’s cloudy.

Futuristic Water Purifying Raincoat

This raincoat won’t just keep you dry, it’ll also quench your thirst. ‘Raincatch’ by two students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design captures rainwater and uses a series of charcoal and chemical filters to make it drinkable.

Dress That Cleans the Air

The beautiful ‘Herself’ dress is a floor-length ball gown by the University of Sheffield, London College of Fashion and the University of Ulster, created as part of a project that looks at “how clothing and textiles might purify air.” The dress is coated in nanoparticles that capture pollutants in the air and filter them with the application of sunlight.

Solar-Powered Mini Dress

This mini dress is made of over 400 mini circuit boards, some of which are covered in solar cells. The flapper-inspired dress by Despina Papadopoulos captures solar energy and converts it to electricity to light up at night.

Mini Wearable Windmills

This wearable sculpture may not be very practical, but it’s definitely a head-turner. Could we really wear mini wind turbines and gather power from them while carrying out our daily tasks? It’s an intriguing proposition and these kinetic wearables certainly incite some thought about how we could make that idea more realistic.

EPA Dress Monitors Air Quality

Normally, wrinkly garments just indicate that we didn’t take the time to iron. But in this case, wrinkles in the fabric actually let the wearer know that her environment doesn’t have the best air quality. The EPA dress by Stephanie Sandstrom reacts to the presence of air pollutants. It’s embedded with sensors that create kinks in the fabric on a bad air day.

CO2 Dress Warns About Greenhouse Gases

If you’re in a space with high levels of CO2, this dress by Diffus will light up in flickering patterns via a series of LED bulbs sewn onto the fabric. The lights pulse slowly when CO2 levels are low, and speed up when they’re high.

Solar-Powered Purse by Diane Von Furstenburg

Diane von Furstenberg joined a number of other fashion designers to create a purse with integrated solar panels as part of the Elle Portable Light Project. They’re stylish enough to be carried by fashionistas, but also generate clean renewable energy with a small flexible solar panel. The energy is stored in a small battery and used to power both a light and a USB port for mobile devices.


Color-Changing Dress Tells Rain pH

The gorgeous Rain Palette dress changes color to indicate pH levels in the rain, which can indicate air quality. Says designer Dahea Sun, “Rain Palette aims to provide an easy and poetic approach to visualising air quality through rainwater. The garments I have developed are dyed with natural dye that will change colour in reaction to the pH levels of rainwater. This project aims to provide an at-a-glance indication of atmospheric air quality, with the potential for wearers to record and upload rain pH readings online to create a global database of real-time environmental data.”

Breathing Necklace Filters CO2

This highly unusual ‘necklace’ expands into a breathing device that filters CO2 for purer oxygen – and then, amazingly enough, stores it in a battery-like device to convert it into electricity. Would you wear something like this if it could literally produce power from thin air?


DIY LED Fashion Kits

Create your own cool eco fashions with a kit that contains LED lights, a dress pattern, a conductive zipper, conductive thread and other items. It’s part sewing project, part gadget assembly, and would probably be a lot of fun to play with.


Wearable Bio-Sensors Improve Health

Modwells is a system of wearable sensors that can be attached to clothing to collect and asses biometric data, helping doctors diagnose all sorts of conditions. The device is used with companion software to analyze the data collected, and has been used to track posture with the goal of improving alignment and reducing chronic back pain. It could potentially be used to manage weight issues, diabetes, trauma recovery and other health concerns.

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