Spinning LED Hats From A Master Milliner And A Techie Fashion Wiz

Moritz Waldemeyer, whose creations have graced Olympic ceremonies and U2 concerts, teams up with Philip Treacy.

Thus far, LED clothing has been a gigglefest. You either have the programmable belt buckles–the new, more obnoxious take on the funny slogan T-shirt–or geek love letters to Tron. It’s only recently that designers are becoming comfortable enough with the technology to really push fashion forward.


At London Fashion Week, however, Moritz Waldemeyer, whose creations have appeared in everything from Olympic ceremonies to U2 concerts, created this unbelievable piece for British hat designer Philip Treacy. It’s essentially an LED helicopter stuck to a model’s head. But when the hat spins, the effect is a weightless silhouette of light.

“The idea for the spinning hat came from my past experiments with light traces, in particular the martial arts projects that use persistence of vision to visualize the path of the movement,” Waldemeyer tells me. “The technique allows us to create a hat with seemingly no physical substance. It is almost as if the immaterial light traces are hovering above the model.”

He’s right. The hat looks like a sketch in real life, as if some cosmic milliner had scribbled on the stage, improvising through pure light. Yet if it appears impossible here, in person, as it tracked the model’s head with perfect precision, that fluid superimposition must have become a captivating paradox. Ultimately, it’s so unique that I couldn’t help but ask Waldemeyer if he believed people might actually wear such hats in the future, and it’s the only question that he declined to answer.

I can’t blame him. His hat is a creation for the runway. Practically speaking, the construction is straight-up dangerous. Women meeting for tea would risk bludgeoning one another with hot lights. A simple kiss would become a deadly affair. But as technology evolves alongside fashion, as circuits become woven like wools, it’s easy to imagine where things could go–the censored thought inside Waldemeyer’s head: The material will give way to the immaterial.

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[Hat tip: Designboom]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.