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Surprising Science

Solar Power Gets Fashionable

In the midst of the economic downturn, designer Sandra Garratt wanted to do something hopeful. So she integrated solar panels into her clothing designs to make green tech fashionable.

What’s the Latest Development?

Renewable energy technology is getting smaller and more affordable. One fashion designer has even integrated it into her clothing line. In the midst of the economic recession, Sandra Garratt teamed up with an electrical engineer, Douglas Holmes, to create a line of clothes that can recharge your electrical devices using solar panels. The polymer panels are integrated into the front pockets of a series of cargo pants and jackets, which come in tones that match the Southern California environment where the inventors live.

What’s the Big Idea?

Garratt was inspired by the idea of sustainability amidst a crisis she felt demonstrated the harmful effects of short-sighted monetary gain. Her eco-conscious clothing line is creative in that it integrates two fields assumed to be separate: technology and fashion. But clothing has a storied history with technology, being one of the first goods mass produced in textile mills. Thankfully, integrating solar panels into pants and tops is more palatable than England’s old factories.

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