William Hughes’s LED Snowboarding Suit Lights Up the Nighttime Slopes

by , 02/21/12   filed under: Featured, Wearable Technology

Jacob Sutton, LED fashion, LED clothing, wearable technology, John Spatcher, William Hughes, LEDs, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

Gliding down the slopes of southeastern France at breakneck speed, William Hughes makes for an arresting sight. The effect is more than a little haunting: It’s nighttime, for one, and the Artec snowboarder is clad head to toe in an LED-studded snowsuit. Hughes is the star and subject of a video by fashion photographer and filmmaker Jacob Sutton, who spent three nights in the Rhône-Alpes on a skidoo, at temperatures of -13 degrees Fahrenheit, to obtain the footage. Sutton sought the assistance of electronics expert John Spatcher, to custom-make the “temperamental” garment, an endeavor that took 300 man-hours to complete, according to Nowness, an online magazine by luxury group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy.


Armed with two Red Epic cameras, Sutton captures Hughes’s lone, illuminated figure, cutting a swathe through the darkness. “I’ve always been excited by unusual ways of lighting things,” he tells Nowness, “so it seemed like an exciting idea to make the subject of the film the only light source.”

Sutton captures Hughes’s lone, illuminated figure, cutting a swathe through the darkness.

It was a novel experience for Hughes, as well. “Filming in the suit was the most surreal thing I’ve done in 20 years of snowboarding,” he says. “Luckily there was plenty of vin rouge to keep me warm, and Jacob’s enthusiasm kept everyone going through the cold nights.”

Eerie, futuristic, ghostly—call the “glowing man” what you will; we call sheer poetry.

+ Nowness

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