Are Solar-Powered Clothes Now a Thing?

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Junya Watanabe solar powered trench
A solar-powered trench that can be used to charge your phone | Photo: Courtesy of Junya Watanabe

If you – like the rest of the world – have been indulging in the Pokémon Go (or “PoGo” to insiders) craze that has seemingly taken over the planet, you know how draining the app is on your phone’s battery. In fact, smartphone usage has increased tremendously over the past few years. The average adult user now spends 4.7 hours a day on their phone, while the average pre-teen or teenage user spends nine. In the former category, this amounts to a shocking 23 days each year spent staring at your screen. With your entire life stored on your phone, a smartphone obsession means a battery-life obsession.

While we typically think of solar power as it applies to providing energy for homes and buildings, several pioneering brands are turning to new applications for fashion. This means that, by investing in solar-powered clothing and accessories, you can be on the go and fully charged 24/7. A further use for such technology includes continually charging wearables, like smartwatches. As an added bonus, the brands that are pushing solar-powered technology into the arena of clothing are keen to introduce styles that are actually fashionable. We call that a game changer.

Tommy Hilfiger solar powered field jacket
Photo: Courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger

While the solar-powered clothing market is still relatively small, brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Pauline van Dongen are changing the way we think about the abundant resources provided by the sun. Harnessing the sun’s power offers a sustainable source of energy that also happens to be eco-friendly, which is an obvious benefit for the conscientious shopper. In order to get the most out of such products, you obviously need to know where to look for them.

While Pauline van Dongen, Mae Yokoyama, and Despina Papadopoulos are leading the way when it comes to incorporating solar-reliant technology into fashionable products, their creations are currently being beta tested and are not yet available to the public. However, Junya Watanabe is set to release a futuristic solar-powered trench for Fall/Winter 2016. Meanwhile, Misfit has collaborated with Swarovski to create a line of truly gorgeous crystal watches that are embedded with solar power and compatible with iOS and Android.

Admittedly, solar-powered technology is still in a fledgling stage of development, but its potential applications are endless. Scientists are experimenting with everything from contact lenses to footwear, so prepare for a future in which your options for renewable, sustainable, portable, and eco-friendly power sources are literally everywhere.

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