Will my business risk ever be worth it? Will LED FashionTech clothes go mainstream?

Will my business risk ever be worth it? Will LED FashionTech clothes go mainstream?


Since organizations combining fashion
and technology like makefashion have pioneered in the space, LED garments have become increasingly popular. But the question still remains: will these
garments ever be a part of mainstream couture or are illuminated garments
destined to be limited to niche audiences for raves, costumes, festivals
and nightclubs? Since co-founding makefashion and
during the journey of producing my own line I’ve often received comments along
the lines of: “that’s cool but nobody’s ever going to buy this”. Taste is of
course, subjective, but these comments introduce a good question of if the
mainstream fashion world will ever really embrace the integration of light
into clothing. With the rise of the maker movement an entire generation of
creators are exploring new ways to work with electronics including fashion. In
2018 and 2019 we’ve seen increasing how-to’s in the space including the “make it
wear it” book from Amped Atelier and the hackspace book by Sophy Wong. The materials
themselves are getting easier to come by with companies like Adafruit supplying
easy to use components and I’ve also recently launched my own DIY wearables
kits that is available for purchase. But we know that makers are gonna make and the nature of the maker movement is that it pushes the boundaries of the
mainstream. Because if something is already out there in the mass market
there wouldn’t be any point to making it yourself, right? The uniqueness and
one-of-a-kind nature is part of the magic of DIY projects and as far as
mainstream fashion goes new trends and norms need to gain a certain momentum
and popularity before they take off into the mainstream. We’ve seen some examples
including the Met Gala where illuminated garments have had a mass audience, but
these are still in the realm of costume and spectacle. We’ve yet to see it
translate to something that the average person would go out wearing unless they
were at a festival or event where costume-like clothing is acceptable. When I launched lumen couture in October 2018 I knew that this was an unknown and that
creating a brand invested in this idea was a pretty big risk. But in my mind the
only way to answer this question was to be the first to try.
Years of working in tech and building products has taught me that there is
only so much you can learn from research and data before you need to put an
experiment out into the real world and just see how your customers react. The
designs of my collection are deliberately simple styles and priced to
be affordable. Unlike the work we do with makefashion
these are not about making a massive statement or breaking new ground. The
goal is to have garments that can transition from day to night and pair
well with a variety of styles. So what are the results so far? Although it
hasn’t quite been a year yet I’m happy to say that there has been positivity
and lots of interest in the designs. The customers I’ve talked to wear the
garments for a variety of reasons including high-end galas, weddings, and
special events. There are a number of customers who wear these to clubs and
festivals which is something that I predicted. So I have to be honest with
you and say that the early results of this experiment are still mixed and the
question of whether LED garments will go mainstream is still unanswered. I’m not
ready to throw in the towel on this question yet and part of my explorations
this year are to continue to experiment with different styles to understand what
designs will be a hit. So what do you think? Am I making the right bet that
illuminated styles will go mainstream or will LEDs forever be in the realm of
costume and novelty? The only way I’ll ever know is to continue to gather
feedback. So if you look at these designs and say “nah that’s not for me” let me know in the comments with real talk on what is or isn’t doing it for you.

One Reply to “Will my business risk ever be worth it? Will LED FashionTech clothes go mainstream?”

  1. I hope it does well. I'm on a budget but I watched your tutorials and will try to make my own because I would wear these. I want to say I like the models you use to represent your line. It's nice to see diversity and not just they typical runway models most fashion designers use.

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