frequently asked questions
about enlighted, and lighted clothing in general

how do I find your prices?

Most of our pieces are custom-made, so the prices vary over a wide range, usually between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars, depending on the amount of lighting and the complexity of the design. At the bottom of some pages in our archives, in the "how to order" section, we've included approximate pricing for certain items when possible. Other prices are explained on our pages for ready to wear designs (starting under $300), and custom orders ($300 and up).

Our prices reflect our commitment to delivering the highest possible quality of handmade lighted clothing, and the high level of customer interaction that is required to design and create an original piece that meets your needs.

how do I order?

We do not have a traditional online shopping cart - we prefer to communicate with each customer directly (via phone or email) to clarify and confirm the details of each order. This is especially important when we are building a new custom design.

If you're not sure what you want, please start by reading the information on our pages for custom designs and ready to wear lighted items (as well as this FAQ page). If you have other specific questions, or are ready to request a quote to have something made, please contact us by phone or email, and provide any essential details regarding the type of garment, the lighting effect you want, approximate budget, or deadline.

Once we agree on a design plan, price, and schedule, we will create a formal invoice and offer a range of payment options (check, credit card, PayPal, etc). Please see our custom pricing page for more details on this phase of the process.

how long will it take?

Delivery time will depend on a range of factors, such as the complexity of the design, the number of garments involved, and the workload that we are already committed to at the time. When we are especially busy, and/or working on location, we might have a waiting list of 1-2 months before we are able to accept new projects. Updates regarding the length of our waiting list can be found on our contact info page.

Once a project is started, many items can be completed within 3-4 weeks or less. Large orders involving hundreds of lights or several copies of the same garment might require more time.

Rush orders are sometimes possible, with delivery times within a week, or even days. Additional charges may apply for rush work, in addition to express shipping and handling. If you need your clothes to be Enlighted by a certain date, please include that information when you make your inquiry.

can you add lights to my favorite jacket/dress/hat/etc...?

In most cases, the answer will be yes. This approach is strongly recommended for items that require a good fit, so that you can verify that the size is correct before the lights are added.

We can install lights in almost any existing garment or accessory, whether it is purchased or handmade, new or used (as long as it's clean, please, and preferably NOT treated with fabric softener or anything else that would introduce strong odors to our workroom). If you email a picture of the garment to us, with a description of the lighting effect you'd like, we can help to make some suggestions.

what kinds of fabrics and garments can you work with?

In general, it will look better if the lights are mounted in a fabric that can provide a reasonable amount of support. The electronic components that we use are not very heavy, but they can cause sagging or uneven hanging if the underlying fabric is too thin or stretchy.

It can also be difficult to work with stretch fabrics, because the electronics will need to be installed in a way that can accommodate the stretching, but without adding too much bulk. Tight, form-fitting pieces of clothing are challenging because they undergo a high degree of bending and stretching when they move with the body. Complex designs on tight clothing can require multiple fittings and adjustments, both before and after the lights are installed.

Depending on the type of lighting that you require, it might be necessary to build reinforced non-stretch regions in the places where lights are mounted. Or, the lights could be mounted in separate accessories that are worn over (or under) another piece of clothing.

can you make a replica of something in the enlighted archives? or something similar?

It depends. We can usually make a new lighted garment that is similar to something shown on our gallery pages. However, in some cases the base garment may have been a one-of-a-kind item supplied by the client, or we may have an agreement to make a specific design exclusively for one client. This will be noted, where applicable, on the pages that describe these projects.

We prefer to use our archives of previous projects as examples of what is possible, and as general starting points for new designs. Like other forms of art, it is often impractical or impossible to make an "exact" copy of an original handmade design. We can achieve the same overall light density or dramatic effect, but the precise placement of lights might be adjusted for a different size or style of garment, for example. Other details might be altered to incorporate updated technologies, techniques, or materials. And, when possible, we like to let a design evolve and improve organically, as it is built.

If you're inquiring about a specific example on our site, please try to identify it with the name of the item, the page where you saw it, or a link to a picture, and it will help us to respond more quickly. This site is HUGE, and asking about "the jacket with the lights" doesn't narrow it down very much.

can you make something similar to a costume from a movie, or from someone else's performance?

It depends. We can use other lighted costumes as a source of inspiration for an original design, but the process will incorporate our Enlighted artistic vision and construction techniques. We do not make "exact replicas" of other people's work, out of respect for their copyrights and as a matter of artistic integrity in general. We really do prefer making something completely new for each of our custom clients, and improving upon what has already been done.

If you're looking for replicas of Tron costumes, please see this page for a more detailed explanation of our policy. (The short answer is "No, we do NOT make Tron replicas")

can you make something original, beyond what's shown on the site?

Yes - we are not limited to the pieces shown here, and we enjoy creating variations on these themes as well as completely new designs. Please send whatever description you have, including sketches or pictures of your ideas (or the base garments), and any information on budget, schedule, and other special features that might be needed. We'll be happy to make suggestions.

what kinds of batteries do you use, and how long do they last?

It depends on the garment, the number of lights, and the length of time that the outfit needs to be worn between battery changes or recharging. Most garments are designed to run for at least one full evening of use. In cases where a performer will only need to have the lights on for a short period of time, we can substitute batteries that are smaller than those described below.

Most of our products require DC power in the range of 3 to 12 volts. Designs with a small number of LEDs can be powered by a pair of small CR2032 coin cell batteries. Other garments with about 5-50 individually mounted LEDs will use a single 9V battery. For 50 or more individually mounted LEDs, we recommend a 4-pack of AA batteries.

In some cases, we will use strings of pre-wired LEDs that are designed to run on a specific voltage, such as 3V, 4.5V, or 12V.

Similar guidelines apply to EL wire drivers. Extremely short lengths of EL wire (up to 18") can be powered by a small driver with coin cell batteries. Short to moderate lengths of EL wire are typically powered by a single 9V battery, or a pack of 6 AA batteries. Installations with longer lengths of EL wire will operate on 12V, typically in the form of 8 AA batteries.

where do you hide the batteries?

Again, it depends on the garment and the type of batteries. We try to select the smallest batteries that will provide a reasonable lifetime, or that will meet whatever requirements that you specify.

In a bra, the battery can be held under the arm or within the bra cup. In a jacket, batteries are typically stored in a pocket. In pants, the batteries may be held near each ankle, in a pocket, or in a box with a belt clip.

how do you wash light-up clothes?

Many of our LED-based designs with permanently installed lights can be hand washed in water (with the batteries removed) with a mild detergent and then dried flat. They can also be spot cleaned, or treated with a fabric-freshening product such as Febreze. We don't recommend machine washing, or machine drying, or dry cleaning, because of the risk of high stresses (due to spinning and bulk processing), extreme temperatures, and harsh chemicals that may be involved.

We do not recommend immersing clothes with permanently attached EL wire, although they can be spot-cleaned and are resistant to some exposure to moisture (such as sweat, when being worn).

If the clothes become dusty (from outdoor conditions at a dry lake bed such as the Black Rock Desert), we would recommend that you start with "dry" methods such as vacuuming or cleaning with bursts of compressed air. If further cleaning is needed, a light spray of club soda (or other carbonated water) wiped off with a towel or sponge will help to neutralize the alkali powder.

If you need a light-up garment that is machine washable, we can also provide lighting designs in which the electronics are fully removable. For example, our light-up shirt buttons, light-up patches, and light-up panels for pant legs can be made this way.

can you send me a printed catalog or brochure?

Sorry, but we don't have a printed catalog - we find that the online version on this site is the best way to show examples of our work. It's easier to add new things as they're made, and video clips are more effective than a printed page for demonstrating animated blinking and fading lights.

are light-up clothes comfortable?

Yes! Our electronics are lightweight, flexible, and concealed within fabric linings, creating the most comfortable lighted garment possible. Seriously - you'd forget about the lights if you didn't have so many people staring at you!

are light-up clothes safe to wear?

Yes! LEDs operate on low voltage circuits, and are extremely safe to the wearer, even if you get them wet (although moisture may interfere with an active circuit - see washing directions above).

EL wire and EL panels use a high-voltage inverter, and pose some risk if the wire or the inverter is damaged and you touch two live leads to your skin. We'd classify it as more of an "annoying tingling" than a shock, but we make every effort to seal these parts anyway, and isolate them from potential skin contact. If you've had bad experiences with EL products in the past, it's likely that the other manufacturers did not pay enough attention to sealing the electrical contacts.

As is the case with most consumer electronics, the most dangerous part is the battery. We recommend that you take common-sense precautions, such as not storing keys or coins near exposed battery contacts.

can you tell me where to get all the parts, and how to make this myself?

While we admire and encourage the DIY community, we are NOT in the electrical tutorial business. Our methods are based on extensive experience (20+ years of electronics, 30+ years of sewing, 15+ years of the two combined), and require a long list of specialized skills and tools. The performance and durability of the finished product will be highly dependent on the quality of work performed during garment assembly.

Trust us, it's much more difficult than it looks, and most of our techniques can't be explained in a quick email or phone call. Due to the impractical level of technical support that would be required, we do NOT sell unassembled parts for people to install themselves.

We're unable to provide free personalized help, but for people who already have some basic skills in electronics and/or sewing we have posted some award-winning tutorials on the site, for both LED and EL-based designs. Please look there if you want suggestions for ordering supplies and building your own lighted clothing.

We do offer consulting services for individuals and businesses who wish to develop prototypes and new products that are related to our areas of expertise.

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