Innovative Wearable Tech: Tinkerbelle Inspires Light-Up Dress

While gadgets and devices promising almost everythng under the sun have flooded the wearable tech market of today, a new trend is  pushing its way up through the morass of high-tech sand and incorporating itself into the visions and creations of today's fashion designers. Beautiful and glittery vs. clunky and boxy are the two warring camps on the wearable tech battlefield, but Richard Nicholl's collaboration with Disney and his introduction of the light-up dress are slowly but surely helping 'beautiful tech' to gain an edge.

Richard Nicholl, Studio XO and Disney Studios


Light Up Dress: Source: Forbes.comLight Up Dress: Source:


This slip dress that one newspaper dubbed "the Tinkerbelle for the 21st century", shines with an ethereal glow thanks to the high intensity LED lights implanted seamlessly within the fiber optic fabric. It was created in collaboration with designer, Richard Nicholl, Studio XO, a London-based company specializing in dazzling and innovative digital couture experiences, and the iconic Disney Studios.

In the words of Mather Drinkwater, head of the fashion Innovation Agency: "It was  imperative for Richard that what went down the catwalk was 'fashion' and not 'tech'...The dress created a magical pixie dust effect down the catwalk...The gasps were audible as the dress appeared. It was a huge moment for fashion technology. We'd built something that was truly desirable."


Light Up Dress on the Catwalk: Source:Forbes.comLight Up Dress on the Catwalk:


Who is Richard Nicholl?

Born in London in 1977 and raised in Australia, Richard Nicholl graduated in 2002 from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design with an MA in Womenswear. He worked as a freelance consultant alongside Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton and served as creative director of Cerruti Paris. He also designed several collections for Topshop and the top end Laurel line for Fred Perry.

Nicholl made his debut at London Fashion Week in February 2006 and continues to show every season. His own label has received three Association Nationale Pour le Dévelopement des Arts de la Mode (ANDAM) prozes in 2008 and in 2009 he was named "Best Young Designer" at the Elle Style Awards .

The work of Richard Nicholl

Creating apparel that his customers can honestly relate to is the raison-d-etre of the Richard Nicholl brand. He is best known perhaps for his modernist, verstaile and classical designs that can be worn either by day or night. Some celebrities who have sported his creations include: Julianne  Moore, Kylie Minogue, Kate Bosworth, Diane Kruger, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Sienna Miller, Emma Stone. Florence Welch and Keira Knightley.


Rechargable Handbag: Source: DailyMail.comRechargable Handbag: Source:


Although initially trained in menswear and unconsciously geared in that direction, he has developed over time an almost uncanny insight into technology and how it reflects feminine tastes and predilections. This is clearly evidenced by his recent collaboration with Vodophone in the clever design of a rechargeable handbag. He dares to experiment, to go beyond acceptable 'fashion' boundaries when it comes to high tech materials and fabrics.


Maintaining the integrity of his vision means that Nicholl's garments must always tell the story and technology must remain silent in the  background. His works serve as a springboard for a fashion future of seamless design and innovation. Fashion is always new and exciting, as are intricate digital devices that can relate all kinds of information to aid us in our busy lives. But clunky digital gadgets are not fashion; well-constructed garments that make the wearer look beautiful are really what women want to buy.

Wearable technology is softly but surely becoming enhancement rather than just utilitarian.

Long live the difference!

 Closing thoughts on fashion:

I've learned that what's most important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it. ~ Yves St. Laurent

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