Smart cuture; harvesting solar energy

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology

ISSN: 0955-6222

Article publication date: 13 June 2008



Stylios, G.K. (2008), "Smart cuture; harvesting solar energy", International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 20 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Smart cuture; harvesting solar energy

Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Volume 20, Issue 4.

Textile art and design interfaced with technology has been identified as important, promoted for development and implemented into the research program of some of us working with textiles and clothing. Many times it was argued that the creation of artists need knowledge of materials that they have to use for effectively realizing their creations. This involves the technology of defining for instance yarn and fabric mechanical behaviour. Another example is the design creation of new art or fashions by the use or the incorporation of SMART aspects of functionalisation, which again tend to be regarded as technology, needing some specialist knowledge and understanding. But, it is indeed the marriage of the two disciplines that can produce new, exciting, and life improving desirable products. Towards this direction are some of the results that are being discussed and illustrated here. The question is designing high-fashion garments whilst at the same time enable them to harvest energy, so that in this instance, garments fulfill the aim of powering up a mobile phone.

This contributes an answer to the question of how the next generation of textiles and garments can support energy saving, not only in the domain of SMART garments but also in textile screens and upholstered products for home, transportation as well as for other civil uses.

Harvesting of energy such as the air, the sun, and the sea are all areas of interest. Harvesting of solar power is particularly interesting and research has shown how it can be incorporated as a design feature rather than as add on in the design of couture garments. High-fashion garments are integrated with flexible photovoltaics, by forming part of the garment's design. In this instance, the base fabric is not changed, as the interlining itself is made of a proprietary discovery of a suitable conductive fabric material, which enabled the effective incorporation of this also into the garment design.

The shown examples in the photographs (Figure 1) are part of a collection of high fashion men's and ladies' garments made to harvest solar power. The garments are capable of powering up a mobile phone through the photovoltaic flexible panels, which form part of the garment design and are being portable at the same time.

Figure 1

These results are part of a much larger research effort into SMART High Fashion “SMART HiF” garments and the current development provides an effective solution to energy saving. Other areas of interest are sensors, switches, keyboards and, of course, the incorporation of flexible computers into our clothing.

The SMART garment collection is now under discussion for commercialisation. Any further information maybe obtained by contacting the editor.

G.K. StyliosEditor-in-Chief

Related articles