Science and fashion are two things that do not necessarily play in one arena, but this little black dress crosses both boundaries.
Dubbed as the world’s first graphene dress, the piece that brings the fashion and technology industry together was appropriately unveiled at the Trafford Centre in Manchester, the very city that birthed graphene in 2004.
With the help of graphene, the “smart dress” has the ability to light up according to the wearer’s breathing pattern.
The one-of-a-kind dress was made with graphene-enhanced sensors lined throughout the dress’s bodice to monitor and record the wearer’s breathing.
A microprocessor then analyses the data and directs the information to the garment’s built in LED lights that are also placed on transparent graphene components. Apart from its sensory components, graphene also lends its conductivity to power the garment’s LED lights.
Deep breaths switch the LED lights from purple to turquoise, while shallow breaths turn the lights from orange to green. Designers of the dress have high hopes for the future of the fashion side of wearable technology.
“We are trying to showcase the amazing properties of graphene,” said Francesca Rosella, co-founder of CuteCircuit, the fashion company behind the creation of the dress along with scientists from the National Graphene Institute.
CuteCircuit certainly isn’t new to the fashion industry, and neither are they new to incorporating technology in their designs. From their company name alone, one could sense that this is no ordinary fashion company.
Since its launch in 2004, CuteCircuit has been internationally known for their ground breaking ideas that break the borders between fashion and technology. The company sees their garments as wearable technology and ensures that their products are equally safe to use as they are sustainable, even offering a “return for recycling” offers to their customers.
CuteCircuit has gained the trust of celebrities such as Katy Perry and Nicole Scherzinger, and has since produced the world’s first interactive fashion show at the New York Fashion Week.
Graphene was first isolated in Manchester University by scientists Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim. Graphene is just one atom thick, consists of carbon atoms and have extraordinary properties. Upon testing, the scientists found that the thin wafers of carbon were remarkably elastic, almost completely transparent and are 200 times stronger than steel. Further, graphene is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. The discovering scientists have gone on to win the 2010 Nobel prize for physics, making 36 year old Novoselov the youngest Nobel laureate since 1973.
Graphene has since been studied further for its possible merits in various scientific endeavors.