Title:
RECONFIGURABLE APPAREL AND FURNITURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparel system including interchangeable accessories, as well as a furniture system including interchangeable, decorative covers and accessories, are disclosed. In one embodiment of the invention, the decorative accessories have a unitary structure including a decorative portion and a flexible band that houses magnetic connectors.



Inventors:
Scully, Colleen (Bethesda, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/532142
Publication Date:
04/19/2007
Filing Date:
09/15/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SOLD, JENA A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EDELL, SHAPIRO & FINNAN, LLC (Gaithersburg, MD, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. Reconfigurable apparel comprising: a base element comprising an article of clothing including an attachment point; a first decorative accessory device adapted to connect to the base element via the attachment point; and a second decorative accessory device adapted to removably connect to the base element via the attachment point, wherein a user may selectively attach the first accessory device and the second accessory device to the base element.

2. The storage device of claim 1, wherein the article of clothing is selected from the group consisting of outerwear, footwear, blouses, dress shirts, shoes, and boots.

3. Reconfigurable furniture comprising: a base element comprising an piece of furniture including an attachment point; a first decorative accessory device adapted to connect to the base element via the attachment point; and a second decorative accessory device adapted to removably connect to the base element via the attachment point, wherein a user may selectively attach the first accessory device and the second accessory device to the base element.

4. A decorative accessory adapted to couple to an apparel item comprising: a unitary structure including: a decorative portion including a first magnet; and a second magnet tethered to the first magnet via flexible band, wherein the second magnet is configured to align with the first magnet to capture an apparel item therebetween, displaying the decorative article thereon.

5. The decorative accessory of claim 4, wherein the flexible band houses both the first magnet and the second magnet.

6. The decorative accessory of claim 5, wherein the first magnet and the second magnet are coupled to the flexible band via sewing.

7. The decorative accessory of claim 4, wherein the apparel item captured by the magnets is a shoe.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to Provisional Application No. 60/717,234, entitled Reconfigurable Apparel and Furniture and filed on 16 Sep. 2005, as well as to Provisional Application No. 60/719,312, entitled Portable/Reconfigurable Headboard Kit and filed on 21 Sep. 2005. The disclosures of the aforementioned applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Generally, the present invention relates to an apparel system including interchangeable accessories, as well as to a furniture system including interchangeable, decorative covers and accessories.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates perspective views of pants-type apparel for use with associated decorative accessories.

FIG. 2 illustrates perspective views of jacket-type apparel for use with associated decorative accessories.

FIG. 3 illustrates perspective views of skirt-type and blouse-type apparel for use with associated decorative accessories.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate perspective views of footwear apparel for use with associated decorative accessories.

FIG. 6 illustrate close-up views of decorative accessories include an attachment mechanism according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates perspective views of stocking-type apparel for use with associated decorative accessories.

FIG. 8 illustrates perspective views of furniture and curtains for use with associated decorative accessories.

Like reference numerals have been used to identify like elements throughout this disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-8 illustrate reconfigurable apparel according to an embodiment of the present invention. As shown, the articles of clothing or apparel may include, but are not limited to, outerwear such as jacket-type articles (FIG. 1), pants (FIG. 2), skirt-type and blouse-type articles (FIG. 3), and footwear such as shoes (FIGS. 4 and 5) and socks, stockings, or boots (FIG. 6). Additional apparel may include headwear such as hats and caps, handbags, dress shirts, suit jackets, etc. The apparel may be adapted (modified) to receive accessory attachments that alter the overall presentation or appearance of the particular article of clothing. In another embodiment of the present invention, the accessory attachments are adapted to connect to unmodified base apparel. Each piece of base apparel is specifically manufactured with connector portions to receive the accessory options. The accessory attachments may include, but are not limited to, attachments that trim clothing (e.g., frill, lace, etc.), as well as decorative elements (plastic flowers, beads, rhinestones, etc.). For example, in FIG. 1, a pair of pants 10 may be adapted to couple with a waist accessory 15A, 15B, 15C. The waist accessory 15A, 15B, 15C may include, but is not limited to, a band of material comprising different patterns, fabrics, or decorative elements, as well as a pant hem (pant cuff) accessory 20A, 20B, 20C similarly comprising a band of material comprising various fabrics and materials. For example, the pant hem accessory 20A comprises a fabric panel with tassels. In accordance with the present invention, the pants 10 may include snaps and or hooks, buttons, or zippers, depending on the overall pant design and the weight of the accessory to be attached thereto. In operation, a user simply connects the desired accessory 15A, 15B, 15C, 20A, 20B to the pair of pants 10. Should the user desire to alter the overall appearance of the pair of pants 10, the user may substitute one accessory for another. Specifically, the user may remove one waist accessory 15A and replace it with another waist accessory 15B, or the user may simply remove the waist accessory and not replace it.

Similarly, as illustrated in FIG. 2, jacket-type apparel 100, 105 (e.g., a rain jacket, a suit jacket, a sport jacket, etc.) may be adapted to receive a collar accessory 110A, 110B, 110C or a cuff accessory 115A, 115B that removably attaches along the neck opening of the jacket 100, 105, or along the cuff of the sleeve of the jacket 100, 105, respectively. As shown in FIG. 3, the appearance of skirt-type apparel 200, dress-type apparel 205, and blouse-type apparel 220 may also be reconfigured using interchangeable accessories. For example, skirt-type apparel 200 may be configured to receive to a hem decoration 210A, 210B (e.g., a frill, a plaid hem, a lace hem, a tasseled hem etc.), as well as a waist decoration 215 (e.g., a border with a flower). Similarly, the appearance of a blouse-type apparel 220 or dress-type apparel 205 may be altered via the attachment of interchangeable trims 230A, 230B, 230C, 230D that connect along the bottom (hem) of the blouse or across the chest of the blouse (e.g., across the scoop/v-neck of the blouse/dress).

Referring to FIG. 4, the appearance of different types of shoe apparel 300 may be reconfigured via the interchangeable accessories. The shoes 300 may be configured to receive to the shoe accessories 310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H such as bows, flowers, beads, and panels disposed along the top front portion of the shoe. The accessories may connect to the shoes via clips, buttons, snaps, etc. Some of the shoe accessories (310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H) may to the shoe 300 with a clip, usually metal, unless other more suitable clip options are available. Other shoe accessories (310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H) may not be attached to the shoe 300 at all. The accessories (310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H) may comprise ornaments that slip onto the foot by means of elastic or other stretch fabric bandings (e.g., lycra, spandex, nylon or a combination of any of these fibers). When placed on the foot, the accessories (310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H) lays over the shoe or the arch of the upper foot and this, both accessory styles (attached directly to the shoe 300 or slipped over the foot) visually appear to be a part of the shoe 300. For example, the shoe accessories 310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H may comprise an elastic band that frictionally engages the front or tongue of the shoe 300. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5, the shoe 300 may further include a loop or eyelet 320 located proximate the rear upper edge of the shoe 300. The loop or eyelet 320 is configured to receive an accessory 330A, 330B, 330C, 330D, 330E such as decorative ribbon or band that extends through the loop and wraps around the foot/ankle of the user.

Alternatively or in addition to, each interchangeable accessory 310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H may magnetically connect to a shoe 300 or other apparel item. FIG. 6 shows perspective views an interchangeable accessory 310A and 310E according to an embodiment of the invention. As shown, the accessory 310A and 310E may include a unitary structure with a decorative portion 312 and a band of flexible material 314 (e.g., felt, cloth, etc.) coupled to the decorative portion 312 (i.e., the flexible band 314 extends away from the decorative portion 312, forming a tail). A first magnet 340 may be positioned along the back of the decorative portion 312 and a second magnet 350 may be positioned within the flexible band 314. In one embodiment of the invention, the first magnet 340 may be disposed proximate one end of the flexible band 314, while the second magnet 350 may be disposed proximate the opposing end of the band 314. The portion of the band 314 including the first magnet 340 may, in turn, be integrally coupled to the rear surface of the decorative accessory 310A, 310E using attachment mechanisms such as permanent adhesives, sewing, etc. Similarly, the magnets 340, 350 may be secured within the band 314 via adhesives, sewing, etc. The first 340 and second 350 magnets may be configured to align with each other; consequently, when a portion of the apparel item is placed in between the magnets, the magnets are drawn toward each other, capturing a portion of the apparel item therebetween. In operation, a user selects an accessory 310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H and positions the apparel item (e.g., a shoe 300) between the two magnets 340, 350. When the magnets 340, 350 are aligned, their respective attraction captures the apparel item between the magnets 340, 350 thus securing the decorative accessory 310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H to the apparel item such that the decorative accessory 310A, 310B, 310C, 310D, 310E, 310F, 310G, 310H is displayed.

Referring to FIG. 7, boots 400 may be ornamentally reconfigured through the use of a stocking 410 adapted to fit within the boot and extend around an upper portion 405 of the exterior of the boot. The material comprising the stocking 410 is not limited and may comprise nylon, lycra, spandex or any combination of these fabric fibers, but may also be made from cotton or cotton blends dependant on the overall design of the ornamented stocking as a whole. The uppermost portion of each stocking 410 may include a decorative panel 415A, 415B, 415C, 415D comprising various textures, fabrics, or decorative elements. For example, the decorative panels may comprise fur, lace, denim, etc. The decorative panels 415A, 415B, 415C, 415D may be permanently or removably connected to the stockings 410 (e.g., by sewing, buttons, snaps, etc.). The stockings 410 are configured such that when the stocking portion to which the decorative panel (415A, 415B, 415C, 415D) is attached is positioned over the upper portion 405 of the exterior of the boot 400, the decorative panel 415A, 415B, 415C, 415D is displayed (i.e., the panel drapes over the sides of the boot 400 so that it is displayed. Thus, in operation, a user may place her foot into the stocking 410, and then insert her foot into the boot 400. Once inserted, the uppermost edge of the stocking 410 may be placed over the uppermost edge of the boot 400 to expose the decorative panel 415A, 415B, 415C, 415D, as seen in FIG. 7. In this manner, a user can alter the appearance of the boot 400 by simply changing the decorative panel (415A, 415B, 415C, 415D) along the top of the boot. Alternatively, the decorative panel 415A, 415B, 415C, 415D could be removably attached to the upper portion 405 of the exterior of the boot 400 (via any suitable attachment means).

The mechanism by which the accessories couple to the particular piece of apparel is not limited. For example, the accessories may connect to the apparel via snaps (e.g., the apparel may include the male portion of the snap with the accessory including the female portion of the snap), buttons, hook and loop fasteners, zippers, etc. The material comprising the accessory devices is not limited, and may include fabric of various patterns and designs, fur, lace, chains, beads, crystals, stones, pearls, etc.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the appearance of furniture pieces may be altered via interchangeable decorative attachments. For example, referring to FIG. 8, a headboard 500 for a bed 505 may be enveloped in a decorative cover 512 configured to either connect to the headboard directly (e.g., via snaps), or to completely enclose the headboard 500 (the cover 512 being secured to the headboard 500. The decorative cover 512 may comprise fabric such as cotton or silk. Alternatively, decorative overlays 515A, 515B, 515C, 515D may be applied to tables 520, chests 525, or dressers 530 to provide furniture with a reconfigurable appearance. By way of example, decorative overlay accessories 515A, 515B may comprise fabric, paper, vinyl, or ornamentally printed plastics, with a backing of pressure sensitive adhesive, enabling the overlay accessories to be removed and replaced when desired. Additionally, a the appearance of a drapery 540 (e.g., a shower curtain, a window curtain, etc.) may be reconfigured using decorative accessory panels 550A, 550B, 550C, 550D including slots configured to align with connectors (slots, buttons, snaps, etc.) mounted to the drapery 540. The connectors enable the connection of the decorative accessory panels 550A, 550B, 550C, 550D to the drapery 540. Additionally, decorative hanging elements 580 may further be provided that are adapted to connect to the decorative accessory panels 550A, 550B, 550C, 550D to provide additional interchangeable decorative accents. The decorative hanging elements 580 may connect to the accessory panels 550A, 550B, 550C, 550D or to the drapery 540 via conventional fasteners, including but not limited to, pins, buttons, snaps, hooks, hook and loop fasteners, etc.

The above described invention enables a user to purchase a single clothing item and alter the look of the clothing item throughout its lifetime. With the present invention, a user could buy the base element of clothing, and then purchase each accessory for that base element as desired. The user is then capable of reconfiguring the base element using multiple interchangeable accessories as desired. In addition, a user may buy multiple base elements (e.g., a rain coat and a suit coat), and interchange the same accessory between the elements.





 
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