Wearable Solar Innovation: Parka Offers Shelter, Comfort and Energy

 Pauline van Dongen's Wearable Solar family is a  series of garments that utilizes solar cells that have been uniquely constructed to capture solar light and convert it into electricity.The genius of these creations lies in the fact that the internal structure of these cells is layered and resembles the stratified cells of the human body, which naturally interacts with sunlight. Her research centers around her quest to understand the human body within a technologically textured space.

Who is Pauline van Dongen?

Described as a fashion innovator,' Pauline van Dongen was born in Amsterdam in 1986. She founded her own fashion label back in 2010 after receiving her Masters degree at the ArtEZ Academy of the Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Her research is always meticulous and her work is considered clean and minimalist. Her one-of-a-kind designs are known for their progressive quality and their deft blending of new materials and techniques with traditional methods and crafts. Her lifetime goal is to merge fashion and technology, thereby granting life to scientific creations.

The Wadden Sea region and the Solar Parka

The solar parka represents a collaborative effort between fashion designer, Pauline van Dongen and the Waddenvereniging or Wadden Sea Society, an organization that offers guided tours on the bottom of the sea at low tide, introducing people to the vegetation and animal life of the area. This group has also campaigned to protect the coastal area known for its sea walks. Conductors of these tours are known as 'Wad Walkers" and this parka provides them with"shelter, comfort and off-grid renewable energy."


Solar ParkaSolar Parka


In van Dongen's own words: "The  design of this parka thrives when surrounded by nature's elements: sun, wind, and yes, even water. We've created this new design with great pleasure since we  admire the Wadden Sea Society for their work in the UNESCO-World Heritage nature reserve and got inspired by the beautiful and unique area they operate in."


Solar Parka- Close-upSolar Parka- Close-up


The solar parka is a one-size only, oversized jacket with a hood that was developed by Europe's recycling giant, Blue Loop Originals, using yarn made from second-hand jeans that was unraveled and rewoven to create density. Manufactured by California-based company, Alta Devices, this wearable tech garment features both detachable solar panels on the pockets for charging electronics and one thin, bendable and waterproof soalr panel on one of its front pockets.

AltaDevices is known as the company that features the most efficient single junction solar technology in the world. The photo-voltaic cells in the parka's front pocket can generate enough energy to fully charge a smart-phone in about two hours of sunlight. When the phone is not being used, the solar panel can be unbuttoned and stored  behind a zip pocket on the side of the parka.


Solar Parks Charging SmartphoneSolar Parks Charging Smartphone

Future ramifications of the solar parka

The solar parka and all other wearable solar creations are here to stay, reflecting the world's awakening to the need for alternative power sources  to save the future of our planet.

Can you think of other  untapped ways to utilize solar?

Closing thoughts on solar power:

Solar power is the last energy resource that isn't owned. Nobody taxes the sun yet.  ~ Bonnie Raitt