The future is closer than we thought – Amy Winter interview

Dresses that change color become reality. The imagination of one designer changes the world of fashion forever. London-based designer Amy Winters made revolutionary items of fashion, from the Rainforest dress, to the Thunderstorm. Amy ‘Rainbow’ Winters is a textile and fashion designer working with interactive materials and excited by their use in performance and entertainment. 
But how did Amy get to design such interesting pieces?
How did you and fashion meet?
I trained originally as a set and costume designer at Central Saint Martins and graduated in 2006. I also had a love for Avant garde fashion and fairytale couture opera. After graduation I was able to dabble in fashion working at fashion shows and developing materials and clothes with a college friend. Experiments back in 2008 included holographic leather and LEDs implemented into clothing.
Is there someone artistic in your family?
My whole family is artistic in their own subversive way from writing to story-telling. My grandmother was an artist.
What are your studies?
I trained in theater design and I am currently working on a PhD in future textiles.
Where does your idea come from?
Ideas are inspired by the mechanisms of nature and it’s wild beauty, the energy of thunderstorms to the morning dew, which drips from a bright green leaf. The more playful elements link in to my childhood, fun toys and dressing up in fancy-dress.

How did you start your label?
I set up Rainbow Winters back in 2010 and wanted to develop some of my concept pieces such as the ‘Thunderstorm’ dress into more commercial wearable pieces. The name was apt as it is my middle name ‘Rainbow’ and surname ‘Winters’. I also love the juxtaposition of the two words which are both elemental but together create something beautiful.
No one picked the idea sooner. How do you think that happened?
Oh lots of people have! It’s a great ‘zeitgeist’ movement of people coming together to start innovating. When I first started back in 2007 there were only a few but now there are so many exciting, interactive developments.  
How do your dresses function?
The Thunderstorm dress (sound-reactive): is made with bespoke holographic leather and sound-reactive, animated electroluminescent panels, as the volume rises, the dress illuminates to create ‘visual music’.
The ‘Rainforest’ showpiece changes colour on reaction to sunlight and water, morphing from a black and white world into living colour and is hand-printed with water-reactive ink.
 
Petal Dress (sun-reactive) is  screen- printed with sun-reactive ink. The print transforms from clear to blue or purple under sunlight. 
Do you collaborate with different specialists from other domains such as technology for creating the outfits?
I collaborate with many different laboratories creating new materials. 
What is people’s reaction so far? Is it how you expected to be?
People are intrigued which is great so I am receiving interest. 
Is there a huge demand in buying the dresses?
My business has developed in the last couple of years and we now work heavily on the research side developing new materials and experimental prototypes rather than ready-to-wear.
Is there a piece that attracts people more?

The sunlight reactive petal dress was a definite best seller. The Thunderstorm dress and Picasso Explosion pieces receive the most attention.

How do people buy the outfits?
Some classics can be bought online through our online store: http://www.rainbowwinters.bigcartel.com

What other projects do you have for the future?
I just released at CES Vegas new fibre-optic prototypes. I am working on a secret new material and other projects, which will be released throughout 2014. 
To see all the Rainbow Winter dresses take a peek on the official site www.rainbowwinters.com.
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