“I think it’s inevitable that solar-powered clothing will become more popular, especially as technology continues to integrate itself further into areas like fashion and design,” Garratt says. She sees the future of solar clothing as becoming, “smaller, tighter and closer,” meaning that relatively bulky panels might one day give way to solar technology integrated into textiles themselves.
So far, the response has been good. Each item is made to order, and since the GO Collection pieces come with two solar packs each, the prices can be a bit daunting to the casual shopper (the cargo pants, for example, cost over $900). However, Silvr Lining has gotten some good press, with clothing from all three lines being featured on the HBO drama Concussion, and catching the eye of Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am and actress Alicia Silverstone. “We’ve had a wonderful response,” Garratt says. “People are really curious.”
And it goes beyond the realm of fashion and into the realm of necessity, too. Garratt sees clothing with built-in power supplies as being a practical solution to emergencies, such as natural disasters where steady power might not be available. In the wake of the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Fukushima rescue workers used the Utility Vest and the Backup Power Pack as a much-needed power source.
Fashion and clothing design might not seem like the next immediate step in renewable energy technology, but technology and fashion actually share a long and close history. “Technology affects agriculture and manufacturing,” Garratt says. “Some of the earliest things to be manufactured on a large scale were textiles, so technology definitely influences fashion.”
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