Chicago Designer, Anke Loh, Creates Fabrics That React

Most fashion designers work with fabric, a sewing machine and a pair of scissors. Not Anke Loh.

The Chicago designer occasionally needs an entire computer science department to help with her designs. That’s because Loh creates clothing at the intersection of fashion and technology.

She started by adding heat and light sensitive pigments into her clothes that would interact with sun and heat. Later, Loh incorporated fiber optics into interactive fabric, and broke new ground when she integrated Philips Lumalive panels into dresses and skirts that played video imagery on soft-embedded LED screens.

While larger companies and athletic-wear brands have experimented with integrating technology into eyewear, watches and other objects, it’s a largely unexplored area when it comes to clothes and ready-to-wear brands.