Fashion designer Pauline Van Dongen has created an experimental line of dresses and coats in wool and leather for those who want to stay connected at all times. The clothing has solar panels embedded in folded flaps of material. Solar cells are attached to the panels, which, when exposed to sunlight, generate energy. According to Wired Magazine, Van Dongen claims that they capture enough energy to charge a typical smartphone to 50 percent capacity.
The jacket has 46 solar cells and the dress 72. Both can charge small gadgets with ease. With the help of Christiaan Holland from the HAN University of Applied Sciences and solar energy expert Gert Jan Jongerden, the designer reduced the weight of the clothing by using flexible solar cells.
The clothing has simple lines but takes on a decidedly futuristic look when the folds are opened to expose the panels to the sun. The geometric design of the garments accentuates its connection to technology. “Technology isn’t just tracking stuff; it’s also about expression,” said Van Dongen. “Fashion is a language that communicates identity and it’s important to create new expressions round the body.”
The solar outfits are not yet for sale since they cannot be washed. In spite of this–and few other obstacles–Van Dongen believes that the clothing will be available to the public within one and a half to two years.