As a ground-breaking field, it was unevitable that renewable energy would make its way into the tech and fashion world. Here are a couple of trendsetters who paving the way with sustainable clothing:
Solar Fiber’s ‘Wearable Solar’ Clothing
Solar Fiber is one of the few fashion lines to put both sustainability and fashion on equal grounds through the brilliance of modern science and technology. Their new clothing line – Wearable Solar – features fashion pieces with serious functionality.
Photovoltaic fibers are woven into all sorts of fabrics, turning the wearer into the human equivalent of a solar panel, without sacrificing aesthetic. Solar Fiber’s creations are surprisingly sleek and stylish for early prototypes, one of the most important factors in the mainstream success of any tech wearables.
The Dutch design start-up is also entirely open-source, meaning their ideas aren’t protected by restrictive patents: “We are open-source because we believe that this kind of technology could be so game-changing that it should be in the public domain” says Meg Grant, designer at Solar Fiber. This altruistic business approach could potentially open up the field to further development by other groups.
Pauline Van Dongen, the mastermind behind Solar Fiber, has built upon the fashion line’s innovations with her own ‘Wearable Solar Shirt’, which is subtly designed, incorporating solar modules into an interesting geometric pattern. The shirt was debuted by Van Dongen on the 13th March 2015 at the South by Southwest festival. Rumour has it that Van Dongen and her team are already working on a solar cardigan and men’s shirt. After that, who knows? The applications of such technology are truly limitless.
According to Van Dongen, “By adding technology to fashion, we can return fashion’s value to people”. The utility of such clothing is apparent. In 2 hours of direct sunlight, each garment generates enough energy to fully charge a smartphone, and features a chargeable battery so you can do just that – charge your devices on the move. This shift towards eco-friendly wearables is a further step away from fossil fuel reliance and a more sustainable, less wasteful future.
Solpro’s ‘Helios Smart’ Solar-Powered Charger
Portable power is becoming increasingly prominent as of late. As we utilize more tech in our day-to-day lives and battery technology remains the limiting factor, being able to keep your devices charged throughout the day is vital. That’s where devices like the Helios Smart come into play.
Solpro’s new solar-powered charger – showcased at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – is the industry’s fastest, smallest and sleekest offering yet. Weighing in at a mere 254g, the Helios Smart charges devices at lightning speeds, taking 90 minutes to fully power a smartphone. When its competitor’s products take at least 3 times the length, it becomes clear that there’s no real competition at all. The Helios Smart folds out to three solar-powered panels, into which two devices can be directly plugged at any time. You could even strap the Helios Smart to your backpack, allowing you to charge your devices as you walk or cycle.
With these devices, visionary trend-setters such as Solar Fiber and Solpro are helping drive renewable energy sources – such as solar power – to the ordinary person. Importantly, this is the key to the success of renewable technology. If only a fraction of people actually use it, the benefits are minimal. When creativity is crossed with technology, renewable products that are actually fashionable or convenient – such as the Helios Smart or Wearable Solar – ensure that renewability and eco-friendliness will be a vital standard in each of our daily lives.