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Design Concepts: Future Fashion

The Web is teeming with the unrealized ideas of both students and established designers who set out to produce astonishing renderings and prototypes for unusual products. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, money, or technology, many of those products never progress from the planning stages to the mass market. But that doesn't mean we can't salivate over them, nevertheless.

Devotees of our Design Concepts column know that we already covered LED dresses back in January, but we're not quite done with fashion. We realized that we were being very narrow-minded when it came to the collusion of fashion and tech, and that our attire doesn't need to light up to qualify as clothing of the future (although we've included a few more articles that do). We thought about processes and materials, but mostly about wearability. Could we see people wearing these clothes on the street? Certainly. (Even singer Katy Perry got on the light-up dress train recently.) While they're not costumes, these designs are bound to turn heads.

Illuminated Heels by Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte

While we wouldn't exactly call this a subtle look, we love the judiciously tasteful touch of tech in these fierce pumps. London-based designer Nicholas Kirkwood created these sky-high stilettos for the Rodarte sisters' eponoymous fashion line, although you're not going to see couture pieces on sale any time soon. The dripped-wax texture gives an especially organic look to the heels, embedded with LEDs and resembling a Goth version of that sparkly forest in 'Avatar' -- only way cooler.

Hexapelerine Collection by Lisa Shahno

Russian designer Lisa Shanho enlivens gray wool patchwork with dayglo thread in her Hexapelerine collection, which seems to take inspiration from geometry (specifically the hexaflexagon), architecture and the work of extreme couturier Gareth Pugh. While the Hexapelerine pieces definitely take a costume-y role, we can see the nod to streetwear. Imagine the fashionable, rambunctious youth of tomorrow donning their glow-in-the-dark wraps before embarking on a bit of the old ultraviolence. Viddy well, little brothers and sisters, viddy well.

Jointed Jewels by byAMT Studio

We wrote about byAMT Studio's Alissia Melka-Teichroew last fall when we had a chance to see some of her Jointed Jewels first-hand at the Bits 'n' Pieces Exhibition. Melka-Teichroew continues to impress with her 3-D printed jewelry, which defies traditional manufacturing techniques, specifically with her ball-and-socket fascination. (Traditional ball sockets must be constructed in separate pieces, while Melka-Teichroew can print them in one go.) The photos above represent some newer work, which she recently displayed at Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Skôn Interactive Lighting Vest by Paula Kassenaar and Paula Segura Meccia

We took a look at LED dresses not too long ago, but the Skôn Interactive Lighting Vest is a little more casual, and a little more restrained than those designs. The vest was created in less than a week for a project at the Eindhoven University of Technology, which we think is pretty remarkable. The rim of the hood is embedded with a variable resistor that shifts the intensity of light as you play with it. While not entirely functional (although we could see lit hoodies as beneficial to night bikers), this minimal and seamless integration of tech represents exactly how we think designers will employ electronics in future fashion.

Fairytale Fashion by Diana Eng

Self-described fashion nerd Diana Eng here combines her twin passions of tech and trendy threads. Utilizing LEDs, conductive fabric and "biomimetic deployable structures" in her work, Eng explores the potential of a relatively static medium like textiles to incorporate many different design ideas and technologies. The picture above shows one of our favorite pieces from Eng, although other design experiments include self-inflating and balloon-structured pieces. We sadly missed her Fairytale Fashion Show back in February, but follow this link to a video of the show.

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