The excessive growth of the smart textiles fashion industry over the past few years has resulted in a complete redefinition of the notion of 'clothing'. Today, we are much more interested in our fabrics and what they represent beyond their traditional usage of protection or even enhancement.
The new scientific age has produced fashion projects like no other. Aided by the growth of social networking tools, such as Blogger and Twitter a new form of designer has spawned, one who is not only the master of textiles but also of technology, using lazer cutters and 3D printers to create contemporary clothing.
One designer, who is pushing the boundary of interactive clothing from novelty to mainstream fashion is Amy Winters, founder of label 'Rainbow Winters': a company which creates interactive clothing, fusing cutting edge science with high end fashion.
The London Central Saint Martins theatre-design graduate founded the company in 2008 with a view to creating stage wear with a touch-sense-sound multisensory experience. Imagine your dress, coat and even swimwear changing colour when you play your favourite song, walk out into the sun or dive into the pool. The combination of clever technology and beautifully cut and edgy couture has allowed Rainbow Winters to be recognised by London Fashion Week, Channel 4, WIRED magazine, Science Museum London, Science Gallery Dublin and Lady Gaga. It seems Amy Winters following is as varied as the changing colours on her famous rainforest dress.
The first capsule ready to wear collection was created all thanks to LABB Magazine's Emerge Showcase catwalk in 2010. The S/S 2011 debut featured two major show pieces that put Rainbow Winters on the industry's radar: the sound reactive thunderstorm dress, made with holographic leather and electroluminescent panels and the rainforest dress, which reacts to sunlight and water with the flower detail changing from monochrome to colour.
The A/W 2011 collection, following the success of the debut, was showcased at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Presentation at LFW and also at Paris Fashion Week's 'Zip Zone' catwalk, which showcases the futuristic works of up and coming designers. The collection, inspired by the Yves Saint Laurent 1965 Piet Mondarin collection and the 20th century works of Picasso and Kandinsky, built upon the first, sticking with the interactive wow factor whilst polishing the high fashion appeal with classic vintage silhouettes and the use of lustrous fabrics such as silk and satin. The pieces were, again, reactive in accordance to sunlight and included the Rainbow Winters signature colour changing inks, transforming pieces from day to night wear as items change colour under UV lighting.
For the S/S 2012 collection, 'The Island' Amy returned to the 'Zip Zone' catwalk at Paris Fashion Week. The most recent collection was inspired by the idea of an enchanted island bathed in dazzling white and clear waters. Much of this work matched many of the athletic and glamorous high fashion S/S trends whist maintaining the innovative technological elements that allow Rainbow Winters to stand out. Natural daylight is used as an interactive device with the signature magic inks hand printed on the fabrics. Like the previous collection the S/S range sticks to vintage style silhouettes, enhanced by the digital bioluminescent print on buttons, trimming and panels in aqua, coral and luminous white colours.
Rainbow Winters has helped create a new, forward thinking fashion market and in return has received a dedicated following of style savvy celebrities and science nuts. Though the brand experienced much success in 2010 and 2011, it is still unknown to many on the fashion radar. It is only a matter of time, in my opinion, before Rainbow Winters gets the full credit it deserves and sets the ball rolling for a style revolution.
All photos by Rainbow Winters- http://www.rainbowwinters.com