Welcome to the 21st Century.
Gone are the days when an apparel was just simply apparel; just a one-dimensional piece of clothing. Sufficient, yet boring.
However, today’s technologically-oriented times are all about experimentation. This is especially true in the fashion industry, where designers worldwide are combining thread with tech.
Fashion pieces are being embedded with electronics to give rise to smart wearables. They can be for mere show, but they can also have provided a myriad of life-altering benefits.
We’re standing in the future, after all.
Fashion as necessity
Here are some examples of smart apparel that possess value beyond aesthetics.
When it’s chilly outside, you wear a jacket, meaning you can warm yourself and make a fashion statement at the same time. Jackets have been around for centuries. Now, however, they are being merged with the latest technology, to connect you to the digital world on-the-go.
Google & Levi’s collaborative project, “Jacquard,” is unique in its integration of techno-threads in jacket fabrics to make it more interactive. The Commuter Trucker Jacket hooks up wirelessly to your smartphone, senses your haptic gestures, and performs digital functions like changing a song or taking calls.
Who knew touching your jacket could be equivalent to touching your smartphone’s screen?
In today’s fast-paced world, we’re all so busy that we tend to disregard our health. What if I told you that there’s a smart suit which detects the tension level in your body, and shows you how badly you need to rest to relieve your pent-up stress? Yes, indeed there is such a suit.
One such collection, named SS17, has been exhibited by famous Turkish designer Chalayan. The models wore techno-suits, complete with bio-sensing accessories, which worked in the form of a feedback loop.
As the models walked the runway, their stress levels were displayed on the screen through visual projectors. Imagine wearing these in front of your boss and getting that much-deserved holiday.
Suppose you’ve decided to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes a morning jog. You start with enthusiasm, but midway, your ill-fitting shoes come loose and you trip over your untied laces. Besides being embarrassed, you’re totally unmotivated.
But wait – smart technology has got your back. With self-tying laces that sense the tension in your feet and adjust accordingly, Nike’s smart and sleek HyperAdapt 1.0 is the next step towards a tech-fashion future.
Is there a watch which, besides telling you the time, acts in the capacity of your smartphone? Yes, there is, though it’s in its elementary stages of development.
Is it like wearing a heavy-duty computer on your wrist? No – it’s super-sleek and looks even better than a designer watch. What functions can it perform?
By touching its small screen, you can check your messages, sync your data, connect it online with Xfinity internet, and even upload stuff. For GPS services and health-tracking capabilities, try something like Apple Watch 3.
Fashion as accessory
Here are examples of futuristic and fashionable pieces, which have been featured on the catwalk and have appealed to millions of people.
With the advent of laser technology, the traditional sewing, thread-and-needle methods have gone out of style. Instead of stitches holding a dress piece together, different fabric pieces are molded together by sintering (melting).
The designs are based on a computer-generated 3D model. So now we can say that the dress has officially evolved from being stitched to being printed. Check out Karl Lagerfeld’s and Iris Van Herpen’s collections in this context.
Social media dress
Yes, something as revolutionary and innovative as this does exist and was even worn to a Met Gala by the model Karolina Kurkova. This social media-connected dress, designed by Marchesa, along with the IBM computer system Watson, is silvery in color and flowery in texture.
The buds of the flowers have LEDs at the center, which change color. How? Through positive/negative reactions that the dress gets on Twitter. It’s both responsive and interactive.
Organza and a vision-activated light display is a perfect combination actualized by Ying Gao. A dress which looks pretty normal, but lights up instantly when looked at using embedded photo-luminescent threads and into computer-generated patterns.
Future of fabrics
This is just the beginning. So much lies ahead in the future which combines fashion with technology. We’ll just have to wait and see.