Fashion design took a technological turn at the 26th Annual Cornell Design League Fashion Show in March at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Student Abbey Liebman combined coated cotton threads with proprietary nanotube technology to created an e-jacket that charges cell phones, iPods and other hand-held electronic devices. The pink, southwest-inspired jacket has ultra-thin solar panel used as trim, cotton fibers that transmit electricity and a USB charger tucked into the waistband. “We’re always on the go, and you don’t want to be slowed down because your phone is dead,” says Liebman, a fiber science and apparel design major.
Potential applications of the conductive threads include t-shirts to measure heart rate or sweat, pillows that monitor brain signals at night, or clothing that heats or cools. The e-jacket was one of 10 designs Liebman debuted on the runway in March. She will graduate in May 2010 from Cornell, which offers the only fashion design program in the Ivy League and the only Ph.D. in apparel design in the United States.