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Alpha Lyrae

Electroluminescent fabric designed by emerging Chinese designer Vega Zaishi Wang

by Alessandro De Toni in Design on 13 September 2012

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As her name would suggest, Beijing-based designer and 2008 Central St. Martins graduate Vega Zaishi Wang is definitely among the brightest stars of China's fashion scene. Coincidentally, she developed a love for experimenting with light and luminous clothing as a way to get closer to her parents, who are both electrical engineers. They ultimately encouraged her to opt for electroluminescent fabric (EL), which is commonly used in car dashboards and signage displays, instead of LED, whose circuit boards were too thick for clothing.

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While studying in the UK Wang found further inspiration in a BBC documentary about deep sea creatures—in particular, colorful jellyfish and the magic of bioluminiscence, the influence of which can be seen in her glowing thesis collection "Into the Deep," that helped set her path as one of the most innovative Chinese designers.

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Her latest collection, Alpha Lyrae, was recently showcased at Beijing's Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in the frame of The Creators Project, a global platform launched by Intel and Vice. For the installation, Wang worked with UFO Media Lab, from Hangzhou, and electronic musician Zhang Shou Wang.

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The fruit of the collaboration is an immersive 3D environment in which Wang's illuminated dresses float in a projected universe of organic patterns and geometric shapes. It's an impressive intergalactic journey and fashion show, where lights and darkness turn each piece into transformative creatures and technology brings her universe to life. For more information on the designer, visit her website.

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