a collection of solar powered decorative accessories for the eco-fashion-minded consumer
This collection of fashion accessories explores
delicate ways of incorporating solar cells into textiles in which
technology meets tradition. Ornate accessories like a
handheld fan and a parasol are charged while used outdoors during the
day. When brought indoors in the evening they transform into a
decorative ambient light display for the home, powered only by energy
The Solar Vintage collection explores mobile power generation from
an haute couture perspective. Energy can be captured passively in an
eco-friendly way while the user engages in daily life outdoors and at
a distance from traditional power sources.
Electronic components like solar cells, resistors, and LEDs are
integrated directly into antique and hand-embellished fabrics and
wired together into working circuits using conductive thread. Organic
prints and embroidery motifs recall endangered birds.
The materials used in each piece were selected with environmental
sensitivity in mind. For example, the threads and support structures
are cellulose-based (viscose and thin wood), and the electronic
components are free of harmful materials.
So-called "wearable computing" products on the market today shout
"technology", are often crudely designed and have a male-oriented
sport focus. Because of this, fashion-oriented people, particularly
women, may not choose to wear the typical solar jacket or backpack.
This collection aims not to hide technology but to disguise it in a
beautiful and stylistic way, making it appealing to a new clientele.
By using such accessories, consumers can visibly signal their
support for environmental causes without extra effort and without
compromising their potentially high standard of fashion. Because they
are distinctive and invite conversation, the level of attention to
these topics in the public sphere can be increased in a bottom-up
fashion, and the adoption of greener practices might become more
As photovoltaic technology develops, future versions of these
accessories could be used to charge a range of portable devices such
as mobile phones, music players, digital cameras, and so on, saving
the energy that would have been used to charge them by other means.
Awards and Honors
- Solar Vintage was shortlisted for
the 2007 Scottish Eco-Prize for
Creativity in the Emerging Talent category.
- Elena Corchero was awarded the Premi professional
Tècnic in the Enjoia't 07 Contemporary
Jewellery Competition in Barcelona for the outstanding use of
technology and craft in her Solar Vintage pieces.
- Solar Vintage and earlier works by Elena Corchero are featured
Technology, a book by Sabine Seymour that offers "a compact
survey of the theory involved and an explanation of the role
technology plays in a fabric or article of clothing".
Exhibitions and presentations
Solar Vintage has been exhibited or presented at:
- G de Joyas
Gallery (solo exhibition), Barcelona, 19 - 30 September 2008
- FAD Enjoia't Coronation, Barcelona, 29 May 2008
Science Gallery, Dublin, 25 April - 25 July 2008
- MICAM ShoEvent, Milan, 26 - 29 February 2008
- SEAMLESS 2008, Boston, 30 January 2008
- Smart and Intelligent Textiles Conference, Prague, 11 December 2007
- Climate Cool Exhibition, China, November 2007 - January 2008
- CONTAINS, Newcastle, 18 - 28 October 2007
- Saving Planet Earth: A 21st Century Approach, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 3 - 29 October 2007 (Artist talk on 26 October 2007)
- Designersblock London, London, 20 - 23 September 2007
- Roundhouse Fashion Extravaganza, London, 25 August 2007
- Unravel - the SIGGRAPH 2007 Fashion Show, San Diego, 6 August 2007 (watch video from the event)
- Textile Futures Degree Show, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, 16 - 23 June 2007
The Solar Vintage collection is available for purchase by
collectors, exhibitors, and fashion connoisseurs. Please contact Distance Lab for more information.
The collection is available as individual pieces or as a whole and
only in small numbers at the present time.
High resolution project images
More details about the project can be found on Elena Corchero's web site.
The crown Elena created for the FAD Enjoia't Coronation, Barcelona, 29 May 2008: