LEDs Light Up Project Runway

March 6, 2012

Battery-powered LED Christmas style lights are so energy efficient and transportable that people are finding more non-traditional uses for them all the time. A little while ago we reported on people who are expressing their creativity, by using an interactive LED Lights on bicycles, and others who were using them to make signs, or to decorate their animal counterparts for parades. Still, even I was surprised when I tuned into my favorite guilty pleasure this week, Project Runway All-Stars, to find that the challenge involved designing an “avant-garde” outfit using innovative lighting technologies that included plenty of LED choices (to watch the episode, click here).

What did they come up with? This New York Magazine slideshow will give you an idea.

Each of the Project Runway contestants, who undertake weekly challenges that require them to produce a runway ready outfit under ridiculous time constraints, was given $300 to spend at a lighting technology store and $100 for fabric. The five designers mostly chose neon tape, LED pearl and fairy lights, fiber optics, and el wire to incorporate into their looks, which came down the runway under black light.

One of my favorites was a salmon-colored mini-dress accented with neon stripes and pearly lights running up the sides (but I love almost everything that springs from Mondo Guerra’s crazy genius head). As one of the contestants said as the electric design came down the runway, “It’s like looking at the sun!”

The winning design from Austin Scarlett used LED fairy lights and yards of black tulle to create a dreamy night sky effect, as if a heavenly galaxy had wrapped itself around his model’s head.

Kenley Collins used fairy lights in an entirely different way, illuminating a highly structured coat that wouldn’t look out of place at a cage wrestling match. But combined with a neon plaid poodle skirt and pink boots, it was transformed into high fashion.

It made me wonder about how many other untapped uses for battery-powered LED lights are out there. If anyone finds other examples, please send them our way.