Katy Perry wearing CuteCircuit on the red carpet.
The article first appeared on Forbes.
Nineties pop was all about baggy cargo pants, butterfly hair clips, and chokers.
Now though, stars wear internet-connected clothes.
Katy Perry caught the world’s attention in the first LED lit dress to hit the red carpet, while former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger wowed fans in the world’s first ‘Twitter dress’.
All because, a more than a decade ago, in the Italian world of haute couture, fashion designer Francesca Rosella had dreams bigger (and more outlandish) than your Spice Girlsplatform sneakers.
“I proposed making an evening dress embroidered with electroluminescent thread that would light up in reaction to the wearer’s movement,” she tells Forbes.
“No one wanted to experiment with something so new.”
Later, at a German ready to wear label, the pioneer even proposed a purse with built-in GPS in case of theft or loss. But again, the idea was shot down.
How much those brands must be kicking themselves now.
Nicole Scherzinger in CuteCircuit's Twitter Dress.
CuteCircuit’s rise to connected success
In 2004 Rosella co-founded her luxury fashion brand CuteCircuit alongside Ryan Genz, a fellow graduate of Milan’s Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.
This, she says, was the world’s first wearable technology fashion brand, and made the world's first internet-connected clothing.
Today CuteCircuit customers have included supermodel Irina Shayk, hip-hop star Fergie and rock’s U2, giving the brand an early edge in the booming $5.8bn wearable technology market.
It has won awards for its Hug Shirt (the world’s first haptic top), and its Galaxy Dress (still the world’s largest illuminated wearable display).
Its interactive garments have been displayed at New York Fashion Week, and its lines have even hit the High Street in iconic shops like London’s Selfridges.
Always looking to break new ground, CuteCircuit even showed off the world’s first graphene dress last year.
Our designs are not just concepts or science fiction, they are real magic,” says Rosella.
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