Solar Power Goes Couture With Pauline van Dongen’s Avant-Garde Wearables


Van Dongen says her designs mimic human skin cells, which show a similar layering. Some of the modules contain up to 48 flexible solar cells, enough to restore a typical smartphone’s charge by 50 percent after an hour’s exposure in the full sun.

Solar power offers an “intelligent and cautious way” to use the planet’s resources, van Dongen says.

The Dutch designer understands better than most that fashion cannot exist in a vacuum. “As a fashion designer, working in the field of technology, I see the importance of an interdisciplinary approach,” she tells Ecouterre. “In order to achieve innovation in fashion it is essential to connect different industries and fields of expertise.”

Solar power, she says, offers an “intelligent and cautious way” to use the planet’s resources. “I’m fascinated by the enormous potential of the sun.” van Dongen explains. We’re becoming more and more depending on connectivity. Therefore a smart garment, augmented with solar cells that can harvest energy, is an ideal solution when we find ourselves in an off-grid situation.”

+ Wearable Solar


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