The Tech Revolution has reached the clothes industry. Leading designers and sport brands are working on smart ‘wearable’ garments that integrate phones and cameras; keep our bodies cool while working out or will even help us survive in the wilderness.
Adidas has developed the collection “Climachill”. The sport company includes titanium and aluminum into the fabric of the clothes in order to give the wearer a cooling sensation while working out. This technology is innovative because the chilling sensations are only provided when the body is warm. This enables longer training sessions and better performance for athletes.
Designer Jacqueline Nanne decided to concentrate on the opposite of cooling. She focused on the most important feature of clothing in order to survive in the wilderness: warmth. Her experimental project, Adaptive Survival Clothing, uses the thermoregulation properties of wool and turns them into an intelligent textile that can eliminate the need to change clothes in different seasons. This helps hikers stay comfortable in an ever-changing temperature environment.
The fashion industry is also taking wearable tech very seriously. A company from New York has designed a stylish scarf called “Scough”. It filters and cleans the air you breathe. Tommy Hilfiger has designed a jacket with integrated solar panels that charge mobile devices. And the London-based wearable technology clothing company CuteCircuit is developing a “smart” jacket with a built-in phone and Twitter feed.
This might sound like science fiction, but Francesca Rosella, creative director at CuteCircuit, says: “In five to 10 years, all the little gadgets we have to carry around – like mobile phones or cameras – will disappear and everything will be integrated into a garment”.
Ralph Lauren is one of the big fashion labels that is ahead when it come to smart clothes. The brand has developed a sports shirt that monitors heartbeat, respiration and stress levels. It will soon be in the shops on both sides of the Atlantic. David Lauren, executive vice-president of Ralph Lauren, says: “The technology has evolved to a point where it can now be synthesized with clothing. The goal now is to merge it into all kinds of clothing. It will be mind-blowing five years from now”.
And the future holds many more possibilities: There will be outfits for children that tell us if they’re getting enough exercise, jackets warning us if our blood pressure is too high or even garments that can change their pattern and colour depending on how you are feeling.
Some of these ideas seem practical; some of them are strange. For example, the idea that one’s dress or trousers might one day also be a telephone. However, it wouldn’t be the first time for design and technology to fuse. So what’s next – satnav sneakers powered by Google or iHoodies designed by Apple?