Colour Changing Clothes Could Help People Manage Diseases Like Diabetes

Are smart clothes the future?

zendaya light-up dress met gala 2019

by Hannah Banks-Walker |
Updated on

In recent years, there's been an increase in light-up dresses on the red carpet. The Met Gala, in all its dramatic glory, has provided the ideal space to showcase such designs, with Katy Perry, Claire Danes and this year, Zendaya, all choosing tech-heavy gowns to fit each year's theme. But it turns out, smart clothes – as they're being called – could actually be used for a purpose far more useful than simply looking impressive on the Met steps.

The Evening Standard reported that the development of smart clothes was discussed at this year's Great Exhibition Road Festival, which outlined plans for colour-changing clothes that could warn the wearer if they become ill. The pieces will change colour and heat up in response to any changes in the electrical conductivity of the wearer's skin, using technology created by scientists at the University of Lancaster. This could be helpful for those managing diseases such as diabetes, for example, as the clothes could sense when glucose levels are too high.

As well as this, there are plans to develop clothes that can charge phones using solar panels and conductive fibres in fabric. Dr Jessica Wade, a research associate at Imperial College London’s Faculty of Natural Sciences said that she hopes potential customers would be attracted by the idea of owning something that will last, as an antidote to fast fashion. "We’ve got tired of passive clothing but because we’ve got good at making it cheaply, we’ve not done anything innovative with it," she said.

“When our clothes are adaptable, it will increase the value we get from them, they will do more for you."

SEE: Zendaya's Light-Up Dress And All The Other Amazing Looks From This Year's Met Gala

Gallery

All The Best Looks At The Met Gala 2019

Mindy Kaling wearing a gold Moschino dress1 of 99
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Mindy Kaling wearing a gold Moschino dress

Richard Madden in Dior2 of 99
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Richard Madden in Dior

Dapper Dan in Gucci3 of 99
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Dapper Dan in Gucci

Lady Gaga in one of her Brandon Maxwell looks4 of 99
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Lady Gaga in one of her Brandon Maxwell looks

Anna Wintour wearing Chanel5 of 99
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Anna Wintour wearing Chanel

Gucci's Alessandro Michele arrived with Harry Styles, wearing Gucci6 of 99
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Gucci's Alessandro Michele arrived with Harry Styles, wearing Gucci

Lady Gaga's final look on the pink carpet7 of 99
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Lady Gaga's final look on the pink carpet

Cu00e9line Dion wearing Oscar de la Renta8 of 99
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Céline Dion wearing Oscar de la Renta

Sara Sampaio in August Getty Atelier9 of 99
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Sara Sampaio in August Getty Atelier

Serena Williams wore Atelier Versace with Nike trainers10 of 99
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Serena Williams wore Atelier Versace with Nike trainers

Vogue's Hamish Bowles in Margiela by John Galliano11 of 99
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Vogue's Hamish Bowles in Maison Margiela Artisanal designed by John Galliano

Ava DuVernay wore a green Prada dress12 of 99
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Ava DuVernay wore a green Prada dress

Karlie Kloss in Dapper Dan x Gucci13 of 99
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Karlie Kloss in Dapper Dan x Gucci

Regina Hall wore Dapper Dan x Gucci14 of 99
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Regina Hall wore Dapper Dan x Gucci

Taron Egerton on the pink carpet15 of 99
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Taron Egerton on the pink carpet

Laverne Cox wore Christian Siriano16 of 99
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Laverne Cox wore Christian Siriano

Designer Joseph Altuzarra was accompanied by Awkwafina, who wore a gold dress of his design17 of 99
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Designer Joseph Altuzarra was accompanied by Awkwafina, who wore a gold dress of his design

Charli XCX made her Met Gala debut in Jean Paul Gaultier couture18 of 99
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Charli XCX made her Met Gala debut in Jean Paul Gaultier couture

Aquaria wore John Galliano for Margiela19 of 99
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Aquaria wore John Galliano for Margiela

Designer Erdem dressed the actor Rachel Brosnahan20 of 99
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Designer Erdem dressed the actor Rachel Brosnahan

Billy Porter wore an incredible ensemble by The Blonds21 of 99
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Billy Porter wore an incredible ensemble by The Blonds

Pose star Dominique Jackson22 of 99
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Pose star Dominique Jackson

Pose's MJ Rodriguez23 of 99
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Pose's MJ Rodriguez

Constance Wu wore Marchesa, accompanied by the designer, Georgina Chapman24 of 99
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Constance Wu wore Marchesa, accompanied by the designer, Georgina Chapman

James Charles25 of 99
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James Charles

Benedict Cumberbatch and his wife, Sophie Hunter wearing Roksanda26 of 99
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Benedict Cumberbatch and his wife, Sophie Hunter wearing Roksanda

Lucy Boynton wore custom Prada27 of 99
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Lucy Boynton wore custom Prada

Florence Welch wore Gucci28 of 99
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Florence Welch wore Gucci

Kris Jenner in a Tommy Hilfiger coat and blonde wig29 of 99
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Kris Jenner in a Tommy Hilfiger coat and blonde wig

Saoirse Ronan wore a Gucci gown30 of 99
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Saoirse Ronan wore a Gucci gown

Emily Blunt wore a gold Michael Kors dress with matching headpiece31 of 99
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Emily Blunt wore a gold Michael Kors dress with matching headpiece

Carey Mulligan in Prada32 of 99
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Carey Mulligan in Prada

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen wore vintage Chanel33 of 99
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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen wore vintage Chanel

Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham wore Christopher Kane34 of 99
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Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham wore Christopher Kane

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Oscar de la Renta35 of 99
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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Oscar de la Renta

Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus in Saint Laurent36 of 99
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Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus in Saint Laurent

Hari Nef in Gucci37 of 99
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Hari Nef in Gucci

Demi Moore wore Saint Laurent and was accompanied by the brand's creative director, Anthony Vaccarello38 of 99
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Demi Moore wore Saint Laurent and was accompanied by the brand's creative director, Anthony Vaccarello

Alexa Chung wore her own brand to the Met Gala39 of 99
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Alexa Chung wore her own brand to the Met Gala

Lewis Hamilton40 of 99
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Lewis Hamilton

Sienna Miller in Paco Rabanne41 of 99
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Sienna Miller in Paco Rabanne

Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano42 of 99
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Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano

Kacey Musgraves arrived as a real-life Barbie43 of 99
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Kacey Musgraves arrived as a real-life Barbie

Gwen Stefani wore Moschino44 of 99
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Gwen Stefani wore Moschino

Gigi Hadid in a silver Michael Kors ensemble45 of 99
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Gigi Hadid in a silver Michael Kors ensemble

Chris Rock arrived with girlfriend Megalyn Echikunwoke46 of 99
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Chris Rock arrived with girlfriend Megalyn Echikunwoke

Katy Perry in an amazing Moschino look47 of 99
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Katy Perry in an amazing Moschino look

Elle Fanning wore Miu Miu48 of 99
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Elle Fanning wore Miu Miu

Diane von Furstenberg49 of 99
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Diane von Furstenberg

Model Laura Love50 of 99
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Model Laura Love

Ruth Wilson wore a romantic gown with ruffled skirt51 of 99
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Ruth Wilson wore a romantic gown with ruffled skirt

Lili Reinhart wore blue Ferragamo shorts52 of 99
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Lili Reinhart wore blue Ferragamo shorts

Gwyneth Paltrow wore a yellow dress53 of 99
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Gwyneth Paltrow wore a yellow dress

Emily Ratajkowski in Peter Dundas54 of 99
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Emily Ratajkowski in Peter Dundas

Kristen Stewart in Chanel55 of 99
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Kristen Stewart in Chanel

Kim Kardashian-West, accompanied by husband Kanye, wore a dress designed by Mugler56 of 99
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Kim Kardashian-West, accompanied by husband Kanye, wore a dress designed by Mugler

Models Candice Swanepoel and Joan Smalls57 of 99
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Models Candice Swanepoel and Joan Smalls

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas58 of 99
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Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, both wearing Dior

Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton59 of 99
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Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton

Bella Hadid wore a cut-out Moschino gown60 of 99
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Bella Hadid wore a cut-out Moschino gown

Kerry Washington in Tory Burch61 of 99
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Kerry Washington in Tory Burch

Julianne Moore in a Valentino gown62 of 99
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Julianne Moore in a Valentino gown

Alicia Keys paid homage to Grace Jones in her Carolina Herrera dress63 of 99
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Alicia Keys paid homage to Grace Jones in her Carolina Herrera dress

Emma Roberts in Giambattista Valli64 of 99
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Emma Roberts in Giambattista Valli

Gemma Chan in Tom Ford with the designer65 of 99
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Gemma Chan in Tom Ford with the designer himself

Sarah Paulson in a Moschino dress with oversized bow66 of 99
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Sarah Paulson in a Moschino dress with oversized bow

Kendall Jenner in custom Versace67 of 99
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Kendall Jenner in custom Versace

Kylie Jenner in custom Versace68 of 99
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Kylie Jenner in custom Versace

Gisele Bundchen in a sustainable Dior dress69 of 99
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Gisele Bundchen in a sustainable Dior dress

Salma Hayek in Gucci70 of 99
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Salma Hayek in Gucci

Jennifer Lopez in Versace71 of 99
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Jennifer Lopez in Versace

Lena Waithe and Kerby Jean-Raymond, both wearing Pyer Moss72 of 99
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Lena Waithe and Kerby Jean-Raymond, both wearing Pyer Moss

Dakota Johnson in Gucci73 of 99
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Dakota Johnson in Gucci

Hailee Steinfeld in Viktor & Rolf couture74 of 99
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Hailee Steinfeld in Viktor & Rolf couture

Ciara in an emerald dress designed by Peter Dundas75 of 99
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Ciara in an emerald dress designed by Dundas

Cardi B wore an extravagant Thom Browne dress76 of 99
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Cardi B wore an extravagant Thom Browne dress

Naomi Campbell in Valentino77 of 99
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Naomi Campbell in Valentino

Zendaya gave major Cinderella vibes in a light-up Tommy Hilfiger dress78 of 99
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Zendaya gave major Cinderella vibes in a light-up Tommy Hilfiger dress

Cara Delevingne in Dior Haute Couture79 of 99
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Cara Delevingne in Dior Haute Couture

Katie Holmes wore Zac Posen80 of 99
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Katie Holmes wore Zac Posen

Nicki Minaj wore a pale pink gown with a dramatic train by Prabal Gurung81 of 99
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Nicki Minaj wore a pale pink gown with a dramatic train by Prabal Gurung

Ezra Miller wore custom Burberry, designed by Ricardo Tisci82 of 99
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Ezra Miller wore custom Burberry, designed by Ricardo Tisci

Donatella Versace83 of 99
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Donatella Versace

Jared Leto recreated a Gucci catwalk look, complete with a spare head84 of 99
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Jared Leto recreated a Gucci catwalk look, complete with a spare head

Lily Aldridge wore a custom Richard Quinn dress85 of 99
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Lily Aldridge wore a custom Richard Quinn dress

Solange Knowles in Salvatore Ferragamo86 of 99
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Solange Knowles in Salvatore Ferragamo

Penelopu00e9 Cruz in vintage Chanel87 of 99
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Penelopé Cruz in vintage Chanel

Zoe Saldana wore Michael Kors88 of 99
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Zoe Saldana wore Michael Kors

Newlyweds Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner co-ordinated in Louis Vuitton89 of 99
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Newlyweds Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner co-ordinated in Louis Vuitton

Rita Ora and Kate Moss wore metallic gowns by Marc Jacobs90 of 99
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Rita Ora and Kate Moss wore metallic gowns by Marc Jacobs

Lupita Nyong'o wore a rainbow creation by Versace91 of 99
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Lupita Nyong'o wore a rainbow creation by Versace

Jourdan Dunn in a Zac Posen dress92 of 99
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Jourdan Dunn in a Zac Posen dress

Hailey Bieber in custom Alexander Wang93 of 99
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Hailey Bieber in custom Alexander Wang

Adwoa Aboah in leopard print Diane von Furstenberg94 of 99
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Adwoa Aboah in leopard print Diane von Furstenberg

Emma Stone wore a silver Louis Vuitton suit95 of 99
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Emma Stone wore a silver Louis Vuitton suit

Joan Collins in a Valentino gown96 of 99
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Joan Collins in a Valentino gown

Pose star Indya Moore in gold Louis Vuitton97 of 99
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Pose star Indya Moore in gold Louis Vuitton

Tessa Thompson wore a look from the Chanel AW16 Haute Couture show, accessorised with a major braid and leather whip98 of 99
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Tessa Thompson wore a look from the Chanel AW16 Haute Couture show, accessorised with a major braid and leather whip

Maggie Rogers99 of 99
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Maggie Rogers in Coach

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