light messages

In early 2002, these garments were designed and constructed in collaboration with world-renowned German lighting designer Ingo Maurer. A copy of the artists' statement and press release can be viewed here.

The clothing was decorated with illuminated scrolling text and graphics, with messages of love and philosophical musings, using surface-mounted LEDs on flexible circuit boards. This installation was the earliest demonstration of wearable animated displays with such a high degree of complexity, with thousands of lights per outfit.

These pieces of wearable art were presented in several international exhibitions: Milan and Frankfurt in April 2002, and New York in May 2002. Please follow the links above for additional photos from those shows.


The show included the following pieces:

light messages wedding dress

This illuminated wedding dress says "I LOVE YOU" in five languages, using nearly 1800 blue and white surface mount LEDs on flexible circuit boards.

detailed view of the top of the dress, full view of wedding dress

"I LOVE YOU" animation in English with hearts across the chest
still views of outlined and solid illuminated hearts

Four strips of lights on the skirt repeat the message in four other languages: Italian (TI AMO), French (JE T'AIME), German (ICH LIEBE DICH), and Spanish (TE QUIERO).

front view, back view

Quick-time movie to demonstrate scrolling text (will open in a new window)
Bride movie (800K file size)


groom's coveralls

The groom's outfit, shown here, contains over three thousand (3000) LEDs on flexible circuit boards that display scrolling messages with themes of love.

the illuminated couple, full view of bride and groom

views of the heart on the chest of the groom's outfit

More than 1500 lights are located on the chest, and they pulse and scroll to reveal an illuminated heart. His arms, legs, and back say "I LOVE YOU", with scrolling heart graphics.

bright and dark view of the lights on the back

Quick-time movie to demonstrate heart animation (will open in a new window)
Groom movie (370K file size, best viewed as loop)


hats with messages

Each of these hats has nearly 400 lights, arranged in columns of eight white, red, or blue LEDs.

The lights are animated with various text messages and graphical patterns, including a white zig-zag "crown" pattern with red LEDs at the tips.

at the opening party in Milan, April 2002

sample hat animation

detailed view of white lights on one hat

more light patterns

Another version of the scrolling message hat (also made for Ingo Maurer) uses a knit cap as the base. These knit hats are described on this page.


light messages vest

This vest contains over 1000 blue and white LEDs on flexible panels. The lights are used to display scrolling text messages, as well as abstract animation.

various views of the vest from the LIGHT MESSAGES collection

The message reads "SIAMO TUTTI NATI ORIGINALI MA TANTI MUOIONO COME COPIE."

This is an Italian translation of the message on Ingo's jacket.

full view of vest in the dark, displaying an abstract pattern

detailed view of lights on the vest


light messages jacket

For his own jacket, Ingo Maurer selected a design with four vertical panels on the front.

The message on the jacket reads: "WE ARE ALL BORN ORIGINALS, BUT MOST DIE AS COPIES." The lights also display a series of scrolling vertical lines with a row of numbers on the bottom, which are suggestive of a bar-code label.

two views of Ingo Maurer wearing his light-up jacket and hat

David Best and Ingo Maurer, in the art car David created for Ingo

Ingo with Krizia


how to order

These garments were specially created for a performance art piece; they are not available for sale, and we do not keep replicas in stock.

Also, although we have created a variety of scrolling message designs in the past, in this style and with hand-wired LEDs and block letters, we do not have a simple off-the-shelf system that is suitable for small orders. We have discontinued these products to focus our attention on other methods for displaying logos and text, such as embroidered fabric-based displays.

Please see our custom logos page for more information about other methods for creating lighted text.


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