What do you get when you cross a degree in new media and electronic art with a passion for fashion? Angella Mackey's creative bicycling jacket.
Name Angella Mackey
Hometown Gothenburg, Sweden
Occupation Technological fashion designer and creator of the LED jacket (shown above and below, $449, angellamackey.com)
Q: What inspired you to create the coat?
A: My professional background was in electronic art, but as I realized how today's smaller and softer electronic parts could blend with fabrics, it started to merge with my love of fashion. I want to create designs that incorporate technology but still make us feel human -- not like cyborgs. I enrolled in fashion school in Toronto to learn how to make clothes and came up with the idea for the LED coat on the first day of class.
Q: Why lights?
A: Cycling is my main mode of transportation, and I've had a constant frustration with bike lights. I find them difficult to remember, they get stolen easily, and they can be hard to adjust. But they're so important for safety.
Q: Did you go through a lot of trial and error?
A: I tested seven prototypes. It was hard to find a way to camouflage the lights by day yet still allow them to shine brightly at night. In a few of the original versions, the lights weren't removable -- so you couldn't wash the coat. Now they are.
Q: How do you expect the coats to be received?
A: Even though cycling was my main purpose, who knows what people will want to use it for? I like to think of it as a classic dress coat with a special secret.
How It Works
The coat has white LEDs in front and red ones in back, which you control by pushing a button inside the sleeve cuff. You can select a steady or flashing light.