On Our Radar: CuteCircuit

On Our Radar: CuteCircuit

CuteCircuit has been building pioneering wearable tech for a decade–if you’re interested in wearables, you’ve got to keep them on your radar. They continue to produce some of the most exciting, innovative and yes–beautiful wearables on the market today. We recently caught up with CuteCircuit’s co-founders Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz to learn more about the history and future of the trendsetting company.

Describe CuteCircuit.

CuteCircuit is a fashion brand and a pioneer in the field of wearable technology. Founded over a decade ago, CuteCircuit sparked the fashion and technology revolution through the introduction of groundbreaking designs and concepts that merge the worlds of fashion, design and telecommunication.

Tell us about your products.

We introduced internet connected clothing and touch (haptic) telecommunication with products such as the Hug Shirt in 2002 (awarded by Time magazine as one of the Best Inventions of the Year in 2006). The Galaxy Dress introduced in 2008 (part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago) remains today the world’s largest wearable luminous display. Social media connected clothing such as the world’s first haute couture Twitter Dress was introduced in 2012.

CuteCircuit became the first fashion label to put wearable technology on the red carpet when Katy Perry wore our gown to the Met Gala in 2010, and the same year we introduced the first line of technologically advanced ready-to-wear at Selfridges in London.

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What value does CuteCircuit have that makes it stand out against other startups in the space?

At CuteCircuit we believe that in the future all the devices that we carry with us today, such as mobile phones, photo cameras, and wrist watches, will disappear and any functionality will become embedded into our clothes. This is because garments are the natural interface between the wearer and the environment that surrounds them. Our garments are a second skin that connects us to people and places in a more emotionally engaging manner. The future of fashion is as a surface for personal expression.

What has been one of the most challenging parts of getting started? How did you overcome this and what did you learn?

Integrating fashion and technology is not an easy thing to do and you’ll occasionally find that people imagine we send a garment out on the runway with a gigantic car battery and thick electric wires inside. This is not the case fortunately. There are no wires inside any of the CuteCircuit garments and the batteries are tiny (like a 50 cent coin for example). Resolving all the attachments between the smart textiles and the microelectronics is always a fantastic challenge, it really pushes us to improve on what we do and create the next innovation rather than wait for it to come along.

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What has been one of the most rewarding aspects and why?

When we first started CuteCircuit many of the materials that we use today didn’t exist: we had to invent lots of these materials. Today we have conductive ribbons and fibers, micro LEDs and processors, smartphones and tablets. All of these technological advances were not available 10 years ago, so out of a great frustration with not being able to find anything remotely fashionable to make a garment like we wished it to be, we just had to convince manufacturers that creating a special component or ribbon just for us was going to be a good future investment. We were very excited when all of our garments could be manufactured completely without wires, so that they felt like normal clothing, but they were also clothing that could do amazing things. We like the idea of bringing magic and delight to everyday life; after all fashion makes people happy and technology should make life easier, so the two combined together are fabulous!

What can we expect from CuteCircuit in the future?

Our next collection will feature many of the new versions of the textile and connected technologies that we have been working on over the past year and that we have kept under wraps. We have this vision of the future where all of the technology that now comes in little hardshell cases like cameras, phones, etc. will become a form of smart textile and be worn on the body. So we will see many of the interfaces that we use today disappear and transform their form factor and use over the next 10 to 15 years in the future.

To find out more about CuteCircuit go to their website and watch the video below about CuteCircuit’s infiniTshirt.

Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave.  Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables. You look lovely today!

 

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