Some people just glow — with the flash of a smile, and the wink of an eye, these people turn heads from miles away. But what is their secret? How do you light up a room with, well, just you?

Perhaps exfoliation is the key to a glowing complexion, or maybe there is a deeper reason behind a beaming individual. Who knows?

Aside from any soul-searching reason for a radiating beauty, one thing is for certain: When you enter a party clad in clothes that actually emit light via lasers, you'll not only glow — you'll sizzle.

Hitting runways is a new type of fashion, one that places the acclaimed designer, Hussein Chalayan, in the lime light — or, shall I say, lime light-emitting diode (L.E.D.). Chalayan, named "British Designer of the Year" (twice), decided to once again astonish the fashion world by using the same technology behind elevator push button lighting and traffic lights to make pretty pieces of clothing.

Did You Know? The Nintendo Wii uses sensor bars containing infrared L.E.D. technology.

In Chalayan's 2008 February presentation depicting the four seasons, models strutted their stuff down a dimly lit runway in luminous dresses, orb shaped hats, and futuristic neck bands. The glowing attires eerily streamed down the fashion strip, giving pieces an out-of-this-world effect.

Amanda Fortini of the New York Times stated that one design "displayed a time-lapse video of a flower blooming". Other frocks lit up in ways resembling the hypnotic movement of jellyfish. How cool is that?

Chalayan even went so far as to create a miniature tornado in the middle of the catwalk as models showcased ingenious works of sun-touched art. Some of Chalayan's pieces were hardwired to open slowly into flower-like blooms toward the end of the show.

Chalayan's gleaming outfits are powered by more than 15,000 L.E.D.'s. The L.E.D.'s are linked to bodices wrapped in expensive-looking sheets. Specifically, L.E.D.'s create an optical and electrical effect called electroluminescence, a phenomenon in which light is produced from an electric field. This effect is different from incandescence (light resulting from heat) or chemoluminescence (light resulting from chemical reactions).

Did You Know? L.E.D.'s tend to malfunction when used for long periods of time in high ambient temperatures. Medical and military services maintain L.E.D. lifelines by using efficient heat-sinks.

In L.E.D.'s, light is formed when an electric field is passed through a porous material (a semiconductor) that has been "doped" or loaded with impurities to create a p-n junction. A p-n junction is basically a point where two semiconductors meet. Once an electric field is established, electrons from this field pass through the tiny holes of a p-semiconductor (anode) to the n-semiconductor (cathode). When an electron passes through one of the holes, it becomes less energized and it releases a photon, or a "package" of light.

Did You Know? Emergency vehicle lights often contain L.E.D. technology.

The wavelength or colour of light produced from L.E.D.'s is based on the composition of the semiconductors used. Chalayan stuck to the visible region of light, playing around with soft blues and greens, and vibrant reds. Some of the models sported giant hats that resembled a 1950s salon de beauté blow dryer (except they glowed, of course).

Chalayan's light-up fashion has certainly reached a level above and beyond that of the traditional Lite-Brite toy that some of us (ahem) used to tinkle with as children. Chalayan's latest work features smoldering, red-hot clothing that literally flames up in light. Little did the models in Chalayan's show know that some of them would be wearing such sciency clothing (heaven forbid!).

We all glow in special ways. Whether you use JLo's Glow or not, there's something to be said about suiting up in L.E.D.-lined clothing.

Learn More!

Video of Chalayan's Show

L.E.D.'s Magazine

Wikipedia on the L.E.D.

Chalayan's Website

Lite-Brite Fashion

L.E.D. Function and Calculations

Marisa Azad is majoring in molecular genetics and microbiology at Thompson Rivers University. Aside from being a self-confessed chocoholic and science junky, Marisa is a nationally-ranked athlete. Her hobbies include oil-painting, writing, and research.

Photo Credit: De Zeen Design Magazine

Marisa Azad

Marisa is majoring in molecular genetics and microbiology at Thompson Rivers University and is currently working on a research project that is aimed towards making new antibiotics from scratch. Aside from being a self-confessed chocoholic and science junky, Marisa is a nationally-ranked athlete. She loves to watch action-packed movies and play with bacteria in her lab.


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