Beyond The LED: Light-Focused Clothing That's More Than Flashy

<p>Designs and projects that utilize solar power to charge your iPod, react to UV light, or change color in the sun.</p>

As far as wearable technology goes, embellishing clothing with LEDs is the most surefire (and possibly easiest?) way to embrace the medium. With the wrap-up of the 2012 resort collections (the unofficial beginning of summer), we decided to troll the internet for summer-inspired tech fashion.

Instead of finding new garments that look like wearable renditions of our old Lite-Brites, we found designs and projects that utilize solar power to charge your iPod, react to UV light, or change color in the sun. Because, if climate change is here to stay, you might as well make use of those skin-blistering sun rays—and look damn good while doing it. A selection of our favorite cutting-edge styles is below… but if you still prefer the more traditional route, check out Brazilian Creator Alexander Herchovitch’s debut resort collection instead.

Andrew Schneider: Solar Bikini

The solar bikini is outfitted with photovoltaic film strips, hand-sewn together with conductive thread that enables you to charge your iPod (via USB cord on the waistband) without leaving the sand. Gentlemen, fear not, a beverage cooling swimsuit system is in the works. Find out more about these projects here.

Mindy Tchieu and Alex Vessels: “We Flashy”

Finally, reflective clothing that doesn’t make you look like a construction worker—though it does use the same industrial-grade reflective material. If you’re one of those people who rides bikes at night, you can now alert oncoming motorists in style… as you’re weaving helmet-less through the streets home from the bar.

Alina Ene: 3D Light Painted Dresses

Alina Ene’s dresses are printed from stunning 3D digital photographs, captured by photographer Dan-Andrei Paraschiv, who composed the imagery using light painting techniques that come to life under UV light. View the rest of the collection on Tuxedo Confessions.

Amy “Rainbow” Winters: A/W 2011 preview

Rainbow Winters’ fall collection (available earlier this week in certain boutiques) was inspired by Yves Saint Lauren’t 1965 Piet Mondrian collection and artists like Picasso and Kandinsky. The vintage silhouettes and geometric prints are printed with reactive ink that changes color in the sun and glows under UV light. See her summer collection here.