Using Fashion to Charge Electronics

Battery life on mobiles is never very good and this causes a drain on the electrical system. What if we were able to power our mobiles by just wearing clothes? Well, that’s a new field that is gaining more and more attention. The Guardian looked at a few ways we can use fashion to power our wares.

Kinetic energy
Professor Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman is a designer and author of Designing With Smart Textiles, due to be published in 2015. She says, “If you think about what traditional fashion is, it’s such a small part of the real world, but then when you look at performance fashion, clothing that has to do something, you see a much larger part of the population using them.”

Pailes-Friedman focuses her research on light and movement in smart textiles. “Really good design is when you don’t notice it. We have always lived and worked in clothing so we know how it functions, 98% of how we wear it is no mystery to us so technology being incorporated needs to be part of and as intuitive as our clothing.” An example of this seamless design might be kinetic energy, where movement generates energy.

Read more.

Reduce Your Wardrobe

It’s easy to acquire clothes nowadays and the consumerist society which we have created encourages us to continually update our clothes for the latest fad. This can be expensive and it has a negative impact on the environment. Reducing your wardrobe to only needed and fashionable items can reduce stress, but it’s hard to get accomplish. Luckily, Becoming Minimalist has a great guide!

  1. Embrace the idea of one. When one can be enough, embrace it – one black dress, one swimsuit, one winter coat, one black belt, one pair of black shoes, one pair of sneakers, one handbag… insert your own based on your occupation, lifestyle, or climate.
  2. Donate, sell, recycle, discard. Depending on the size of one’s existing wardrobe, an initial paring down won’t take long. Make a few piles – donate, sell, or recycle. Start with the clothes that you no longer wear. You’ll be surprised how much you can remove.

Read more here.

Zara commits to go toxic-free

The world’s largest clothing retailer Zara has committed to going toxic-free. After pressure from the environmental-concsious group Greenpeace the company has joined a handful of other large corporations that are (or soon will be) disclosing what toxins go into their products and how those chemicals are dealt with.

Zara’s commitment to act more transparently is a milestone in the way clothing is manufactured. It’s an important step in providing local communities, journalists and officials with the information they need to ensure that local water supplies are not turned into public sewers for industry. Zara’s transparency revolution will be key to ensuring that as brands commit to Detox they then really follow through on achieving zero discharges by 2020. With so many businesses engaging in greenwashing, it’s important for consumers to know who they can trust.

Zara now joins Nike, Adidas, Puma, H&M, M&S, C&A and Li-Ning who have also committed to Detox but other top clothing companies still need to respond to the urgency of the situation and Detox. We tested clothing items from 20 leading brands this year and found hazardous chemicals in them that break down in the environment to form toxic pollution. But by working with their suppliers and switching to non-hazardous alternatives, the clothing companies can become part of the solution.

More information at Greenpeace.

LED Cycling Jacket is a Winner

I have lights on my bike and I’m a safe rider; however, there is always room for improvenment. An inventor has created a jacket for cyclists that uses LED lights. The lights communicate to other cyclists and most importantly car drivers what the cyclist is doing. The jacket recently won an international design award. The BBC has the scoop.

The jacket uses an accelerometer to sense movement, changing the colour of LEDs on the back from green when accelerating, then to red when braking.

A tilt switch in the jacket also makes LEDs in the arm flash amber when the wearer lifts their arm to indicate a turn.

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