eTextile crystallography is a collaboration between Rachel Freire and Melissa Coleman. It explores the idea of growing a luxurious futuristic garment and the aesthetics and practicalities involved. Red carpet dresses and gowns are created at huge expense and often worn only once as they are so unique and recognisable.

Rather than make a single use, incredibly expensive crystal gown with synthesized crystals, we pose the idea that you can create a gown which can be grown and re-grown in different forms to be worn on multiple occasions. Technology is expensive and often not sustainably created, so we wanted to make the foundation of a dress - including interactive and reactive elements - which can be re-used and re-created as a different garment for each wearer. The eTextile electronics in the garment are washable and will stay the same. But each time the dress is worn it's crystals can be re-grown and each resulting gown is completely unique.



work in progress photos on Flickr:

a tutorial on how to make the sample at the top of the page:


finished collar in two stages: 1, white starter crystals grown over LEDs as diffusers. 2, second layer of smaller disrupted grey crystals to cover the surface:


illusion net collar with bonded taffeta eTextile circuit and 60 cool white SMDs prepared for growing. Smoky diffused crystal samples to test the final effect and dotstar experiments with Statex TechnikTex stretch eTextiles traces.


eTextile test circuits: warm and cool white SMD LEDs and addressable LEDs. Adapted for eTextiles by adding tiny loops and copper tape for sewing to the fabric. Bonded stretch conductive traces on  super fine yak leather.


addressable wired LEDs and perforated leather samples with glowing crystals


addressable wired sample with human hair on tulle


work in progress


concept image (c) Allan Amato