In 2009, Diffus introduced the Climate Dress which single handedly elevated wearable tech from the realm of geek to chic. Intertwining eco with electronics, the Climate Dress proved that wearable computing can indeed be fashionable and simultaneously socially provocative.
Diffus' latest creation, the solar handbag, brings similar sensibilities of eco-tech luxe to a sustainable, and marketable, product. While the Climate Dress is an evocative statement on "climate awareness," the solar handbag leans towards "self suppliance".
"Modern urban people will not only wear organic cotton and bamboo fibers," says co-founder of Diffus Hanne-Louise Johannesen, " they will [also] express themselves through climate awareness. Two things are important in this area — one is awareness about sustainability and another is the actual sustainability."
The solar handbag falls in the latter category. Embellished with miniature solar cells, the beautifully crafted handbag functions as a "portable power station" to charge your mobile phone. The interior of the bag is designed with fiber optics that that illuminate at night helping you locate items strewn in the bag.
Unlike other solar hand bags currently on the market, Diffus took a unique approach using electronics (solar cells) as part of their design vocabulary.
When I asked Hanne-Louise Johannesen about the appropriation of the aesthetics of the electronic components themselves as decorative elements and details in the design, she made a delightful comparison to architect Gustave Eiffel.
"In this aspect we sometimes make a comparison with Gustave Eiffel when he decided to make beauty of the building structure rather than hiding the real strength behind ornamented brick and mortar," she said. "Another thing is that this has given us a new — in the beginning — unexpected 'vocabulary' to use in the aesthetic language. It has become a kind of trademark for us."
Electronics as decorative sequin? A lovely signature indeed!