Saturday, November 19, 2005


The Future of Tacky Clothing

The holidays are just around the corner. Inevitably you’ll start to see people showing up for work or Christmas parties in tacky electronically enhanced holiday clothing such as shirts with Christmas trees on them where little LEDs on it really illuminate the decorative lights, sweaters with an embroidered reindeer with a blinking red LED for a nose, ties that play Christmas carols, or hats that count the minutes until New Year’s Day. I haven’t seen any clothes yet with novelty menorah images on them where LEDs light up the appropriate number of fabric candles, but I’m sure someone is making them.

Just wait a few years until someone perfects machine washable fabrics with eink type display technology on them and you’ll really see some tacky holiday clothing that makes present LED enhanced ones look bland. People will be able to have whole animated Christmas specials playing on their chests or hats. I expect that after showing up on expensive novelty clothing this electronic display fabric will spread. Next high-end vendors will give away hats, tie tacks, or shirts with animated product logos at conventions and to big customers. Then when the technology becomes cheap enough you will start to see animated images and scrolling text on T-shirts, hooded jackets, hats, and other popular apparel. In my mind’s eye I can already see the old people walking around the mall with “My Cute Grandchildren” slideshows playing on their sweaters. If you were upset to see 14 year old girls prancing around with shorts that had the word “juicy” written across their butt, just wait until you see what the fashion designers can do with sexually suggestive full color animations. I wouldn’t be surprised if the technology for clothing with build-in wearable video displays arrives in time to produce some really interesting political T-shirts for the aught-eight presidential elections. Combine them with this with touch sensitive clothing and the options seem almost limitless.

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