Hi-tech meets high-fashion as intu Trafford Centre premiers the little black graphene dress of the future

26 January 2017

The future of fashion could be a little ‘black’ dress made of graphene that responds to breathing rates changing colour and design on the whim of the wearer. That’s according to intu, owner of many of the UK’s biggest and most popular shopping centres, including intu Trafford Centre which has teamed up with wearable tech company Cute Circuit and the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester to produce an innovative new dress design.   

The result is a fashion and science first and the world’s most technically advanced dress, the intu little black graphene dress, marking the first time that the revolutionary, Nobel Prize winning ‘miracle material’ has been incorporated into fashion.

A blueprint for fashion of the future

Richard Paxton, general manager of intu Trafford Centre, said: “Technology and fashion have come together to create what is the world’s most high-tech dress and could become the blueprint for what our millions of customers will be wearing in the future.”

Discovered in Manchester in 2004, graphene is a two-dimensional material that is lighter than paper but stronger than steel. And thanks to its highly conductive properties, the prototype dress uses the material to illuminate in different ways depending on the wearer’s breathing rate.

The designers hope the same technology could eventually be used to invent one garment that can be programmed to showcase any colour hue or design.

Future fashionistas can get a first glimpse of the intu little black graphene dress when it goes on display at intu Trafford Centre from Wednesday 25 January 2017. The garment will also be modelled by Britain’s Next Top Model finalist Bethan Sowerby at an event in the shopping centre on Wednesday. The dress will also be showcased at the Graphene Institute. 

Truly one of a kind

Dr Paul Wiper, Research Associate, National Graphene Institute said: “This is a fantastic project, graphene is still very much in its infancy for real world applications and showcasing its amazing properties through the forum of fashion is very exciting. The dress is truly one of a kind and shows what creativity, imagination and a desire to innovate can create using graphene and related two-dimensional materials.”

Francesca Rosella, Chief Creative Director for Cute Circuit, whose previous hi-tech creations have been modelled by Katy Perry and Nicole Scherzinger, said: “Graphene has never been used in the fashion industry and being the first to use it was a real honour, allowing us to have a lot of fun creating the stunning intu little back graphene dress and showcasing graphene’s amazing properties.”

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