Is anyone surprised to see new technology being implanted into our fibers, textiles, clothing and accessories? Of course the next step will be placing the chips under our skin, but until then, let’s see how we can find ways to enhance the fashion experience. GPS chips in our pets used to sound crazy too….
A number of years ago, we had a student designing batteries into her custom-made school bags and brief cases to recharge the new hit toy – cell phones. Now we are seeing plug-in dresses and shirts!! We are exposed to the sun much of our commuting and recreating days. So why not put our “outer layer” of clothing to work? This is a natural fusion of bringing techies together with fashion creatives. The geek look is fine for some, but there are those who want a fashionable look for their appearance.
You may have seen the new ideas from Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Dongen, who started her sustainable company: Wearable Solar. Images from her website show some of the possibilities to integrate energy producing solar panels into clothes that will power up your digital devices: paulinevandongen.nl/project/wearable-solar-video/
The art and science of “intelligent clothing” is an enticing subject for future thinking design and technology students alike. New partnerships are developing across formerly separate lines. And whether it is technology influencing fashion design or the reverse, we are being influenced to integrate technology into much more of our lives.
An early adaptation is with E-textiles that are making it possible to monitor one’s exercise routine and general health.
Our research turned up these examples:
➢ A new cancer-detecting bra is in the lab being designed to forewarn of a potential breast cancer.
➢ Sportswear that monitors your workout routine – heart rate and calories burned; injury prone patterns to correct…
➢ Google Glasses of course and Contact lenses to test for glucose levels
➢ GPS Bracelets are functional and decorative
➢ The D-Shirt — Digital Shirt by Cityzen Sciences
➢ BlackSocks app with RFID chips to keep your socks paired for life!
➢ Diapers that track a baby’s kidney function and potential medical issues…
And we recently observed how Ralph Lauren is getting in on this new wave with his PoloTech fitness-tracking compression shirts worn by the ball boys during this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament in NYC. Working with OMsignal, a Canada-based biometrics firm, they are testing for heart and breathing rates and the stress level of a person’s workout. The measurements are read on a Bluetooth-connected Smartphone.
We are reminded of the saying: “The future is now!” And Ralph Lauren, Pauline van Dongen and others are running on fast-forward to bring these new ideas to us NOW:
This adds a whole new meaning to “dressing smart”!
What apparel fashion tech have you seen or tried?
Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.