This month we feature Solar Windbreakers, a ground breaking garment design that sustainably combines recycled fabric and wearable technology.
The stylish unisex jacket is made from 70% recycled material – mostly worn-out jeans and recycled PET bottles – which has been treated to be wind and waterproof.
Designed by Pauline van Dongen, a pioneering fashion designer in the field of wearable technology, the Solar Windbreaker has been created in collaboration with sustainable clothing brand Blueloop Originals at the request of Waddevereniging (Wadden Sea Society).
The Solar Windbreaker was designed to meet the needs of Wad Walkers, tour guides who take hikers across the low-tide mud flats surrounding the Wadden Sea Islands to the north of The Netherlands.
As the vast, windswept landscape of this UNESCO World National Heritage site often takes the walkers off grid, the jacket incorporates solar panels which can gather energy from the sun, enabling them to remain connected and in contact at all times.
“Since we didn’t want to put the cells all over the jacket, the surface area needed to perform well enough. The solar panels are made by Alta Devices, which we chose particularly because of their high performing cells which are also very thin and flexible and therefore suitable for integration into the textiles.” Pauline van Dongen
With a power bank placed directly in the lining of the jacket, the Solar Windbreaker allows the user to charge any kind of portable device from phone to camera and GPS navigation in any kind of weather. In comparison to the other power banks, the Solar Windbreaker can charge a smartphone in about 2 hours. As the jacket is equipped with a new inductive charging system, it allows the user to wirelessly charge their smartphone. Other portable devices can be charged with a regular USB cable.
The Pauline van Dongen design studio previously collaborated with Waddevereniging and BlueLOOP on the Solar Parka – an outdoor garment with the similar characteristics, although the solar panels were not fully integrated into the design.
Bringing the Solar Windbreaker design to life took 7 months– a relatively short development time due to the fact that the Pauline van Dongen design studio was already experienced at integrating wearable technology and textiles.
The Wad Walkers will be putting this unique garment through its paces throughout the summer, with the aim of bringing Solar Windbreakers to market sometime in the near future.
If you are interested in following the progress of the project, or are keen to find out when Solar Windbreakers will go on sale, we recommend that you follow the Pauline van Dongen studio via social media or sign up for their newsletter.
- Explore more wearable technology fashion at the Pauline van Dongen website >
- Follow Pauline van Dongen on Facebook >
- View fashion collections by Pauline van Dongen on Instagram >
- Find out more about the recycled fabric the Blue Loop Originals website >
- Visit the Wadden Sea Society at the Waddenvereniging website >
Image credits: Pauline van Dongen, Roos van de Kieft.
- On 28th August 2016