When fashion meets science

You may think fashion and science meeting, falling in love, eloping and taking ideas to a whole metaphysical transcendental dimension is new..but it is not….science and fashion have always had a secret love affair; how else can you explain the amazing textiles that cling and flow, vibrant patterns that arouse and inspire, scintillating colours and theatrical accessories. The process of turning that fluffy cotton ball into dyed cotton thread to a masterpiece on the Milan catwalk all involves science – the machinery in weaving, the chemicals in dyeing, the equipment in pattern making and the technology in labeling all involves science and even more could be said about the cosmetics and make up. Designers also play colour tricks and illusions – red being preferred by both sexes and horizontal lines and v necks making one look taller and slimmer. Beyond this less known love affair..how else is science inspiring fashion?

Helen Storey’s dissolving dressing at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2011.
” These dresses form part of her research into biodegradable materials: the enzyme-based textile will dissolve over time as it comes into contact with water. They also comment on contemporary society’s desire for a plentiful supply of clothing.”

The sprayed material is a liquid combination of cotton fibres, polymers and solvent.  Once sprayed,  the solvent instantly evaporates on contact with a surface creating a smooth clothing material of any thickness that can be washed and worn like normal fabrics.

HuMo, or the Human Dynamo, is clothing with built-in, kinetic energy harvesting capabilities, using the physical capacity of the body to power devices. This jacket takes power from the natural arm swing of the wearer as they walk or run and applies it directly to lighting, increasing their visibility – and therefore their safety – as they move around the streets at dawn or dusk.

Baumel’s ‘Invisible Membrane’ visualizes the bacteria that covers our skin.

Using a recipe of green tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast Suzanne Lee is ‘growing’ material which she describes as “vegetable leather”. The material takes about two weeks to grow and can then be folded around a mould.

The Fat Map Collection, a fashion collection based on 3D MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans of six individual’s body’s fat deposits.

Wearable technology: Philips LED dress.

A Cornell University scientist and designer from Kenya together created a fashionable hooded bodysuit embedded at the molecular level with insecticides for warding off mosquitoes.


From the “Cuts” collection, which is based on CT and x-ray scans. Image credit: Philip Meech.

Check out this post which discusses other creative scientific ideas for clothing like auto color generating dresses, music dress, magnetic heel shoes.