Groundbreaking

The Craziest Fashion Innovations of 2013 (Photos)

A sweater that changes color with your mood, prosthetics that are fantastical works of art and function, and a real ‘Clueless’ closet—finally. See 2013’s exciting fashion innovations.

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A sweater that changes color with your mood, prosthetics that are fantastical works of art and function, and a real ‘Clueless’ closet—finally. See 2013’s exciting fashion innovations.

Cloth

The Clueless Closet

When Clueless hit the big screen in 1995, ‘90s girls everywhere were consumed with jealousy over Cher Horowitz’s unimaginably hi-tech closet, with its virtual system of choosing outfits and retrieving them from the Rodeo Drive-princess’s massive closet. After a long, hard 18-year wait, this ultimate fashion guide can finally be ours. FaceCake’s Virtual Try-On System, called Swivel, will allow fashionistas to virtually simulate trying on outfits from their own closets and will begin appearing at retail locations in 2014. Meanwhile, a few new apps are a step in the right direction. Cloth keeps track of the contents of your closet and Clothia lets you virtually try on your own outfits. With all these new systems, there’s no risk of Cher chiding: “Do you prefer fashion victim or ensembly challenged?”

Alternative Limb Project/Facebook

Bespoke Limbs

Tattoo devotees have long lauded the skin as a giant canvas. But what if your entire limb could be a similar vehicle for self-expression? An artistic foray into prosthetics by sculptress Sophie de Oliveira Barata has birthed the “Alternative Limb Project,” a bespoke limbs company. As a more creative option to a traditionally unaesthetic fake limb, Barata customizes each prosthesis to fill the ultimate desires of the wearer. Fancy a stereo system built into your leg? How about a laser-pointing arm? The company website offers such customization as “skin that metamorphoses into another species” and the addition of “compartments and storage pockets.”

Vimeo

Mood Sweater

We all know what happens when you inadvertently sidle up to a grump and get snapped at in return. Those awkward encounters may be over. The GER mood sweater changes color depending on how the wearer is feeling, mood ring-style. Designed by the lab Sensoree, the cropped turtleneck sweater utilizes Galvanic Skin Response via hand sensors to determine whether its wearer is tranquil green or in-love crimson. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve.

Everpurse/Facebook

Clutch Charger

Admit it: your heartbeat quickens when the battery on your phone slides into the red. You can never have too many back ups or too much power. Enter Everpurse, a cute clutch that charges and holds your phone at the same time. The purse, which charges on a wireless mat, has enough juice to give you two full 0 to 100 percent batteries a day.

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Hipster Glass

The headline-making Google Glass was the talk of the town in 2013. Participants in the Glass Explorers program began receiving their devices in February to much fanfare. Now that the excitement has fizzled, the conundrum many Glass enthusiasts face, other than a hefty price tag, is the risk of being labeled that guy or girl wearing what some consider pretentiously nerdy eyewear. But tech and style lovers breathed a sigh of relief when uber-cool glasses company Warby Parker came to the rescue, announcing a partnership with Google Glass and revealing a tortoiseshell frame that more or less disguises the wiry device.

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Fashion: Hacked

A talent for coding doesn’t always mandate embracing a pajamas and thick glasses look. This past February welcomed the world’s first “fashion hackathon,” when 600 style and tech enthusiasts hunkered down for 24 hours in New York City to build apps and solutions for the fashion industry. Judges from companies such as Gilt Groupe, Gap, and The New York Times deemed SWATCHit, which connects fabric manufacturers and “Emerging Market Artisans” with designers, the winner. The platform’s designers were awarded $10,000 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Photo by Unifold

Print These Shoes

There are hundreds of millions of people in need of footwear around the world, but a promising project thought up in a Pratt Institute course this past year may have the potential to change that. Students designed a one-piece, printable shoe called UNifold that can be slipped into a flat envelope, mailed directly to someone’s doorstep, and then folded into wearable footwear. Cutting down on a wasteful manufacturing process and using reusable materials makes the shoes affordable and environmentally friendly. The company is in its infancy, but if it takes off, it has the potential to change many lives.

Bib and Tuck/Facebook/Alexandra Velasco

Online Swaps

A bag of tired clothes normally goes to the dumpster or second-hand store, but wouldn’t it be so much better to get something in return? Bib + Tuck is a high-end, online marketplace that eschews dollar bills in exchange for bartering bucks that will buy you other users’ clothing, shoes, and accessories. Don’t worry about an eBay-like disappointment when you open the package: clean pictures and users’ required to provide their real names—with employees of designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Diane von Furstenberg in the mix—keep everything kosher.

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Shazam Her Bag

Rather than spending hours Googling a cool jacket you pass on the street, snap a picture and find a dozen products in the same style. “Find Similar” by mobile tech company Cortexica is being lauded as “the Shazam of fashion” for its ability to find pieces similar to the one you’ve snapped using color, pattern, and texture to filter through a database of images. But it better watch out, there may soon be a rival on the scene; the music-identifying app Shazam is also apparently testing the waters of the fashion world.

S.Mosse/Getty

Smart Hair

Step aside, Google Glass. The next big thing in wearable technology is fake hair. This past spring, Sony patented a “SmartWig,” which would allow users to put communication devices even closer to their brains, while also disguising the electronics, sensors, and a possible camera. Along with the potential for a GPS system and virtual reality gaming experience, the interface, if it comes to commercial fruition, could also help guide someone who is blind or assist a deaf person in a difficult environment.

Athos/Facebook

Get Fit

Snapping a fitness tracker around your wrist is par for the course these days. But what if your entire outfit could monitor your heart rate, breathing, and muscle productivity? Athos has announced a new line of workout clothing, debuting in 2014, set to do just that. The clothing items will collect data from muscle sensors and send it to a smartphone so users can track which muscles they’re over—or under—working, their heart rate, and balance. Don’t worry about looking like too much of a bot at the gym: the company is partnering with Branch to make sure the final product looks good too.