Is it just us, or is everything “activated” these days – first almonds, now apparel? Wearable tech is super cool, but let’s be honest, it can also be super ugly.
Finally, the geeks are starting to collaborate with style gurus around the world, to create smart clothing and accessories that won’t offend the fashion police. It’s not just things that go bing – tech giants such as Google are investing big bucks into developing smart fabrics, with interactive technology literally woven into clothing fibres.
More than half of all Australians own some sort of wearable device – mostly smart watches and fitness trackers. Our appetite for clever, connected gadgets and gear is growing faster than ever, and the fashion world is taking notice.
From jewellery to jeans, watches to wallets, smart style is everywhere, and worldwide revenue from wearable devices is projected to double in the next three years. The challenge for designers is fusing tech with construction.
Aussie Ben Moir, co-founder of activated yoga apparel brand Wearable X, says “technology should empower the human experience, not overtake it”. His new label’s activated tights are designed with “technology seamlessly integrated, allowing their beauty and design to take centre stage”.
Here are some of the latest pieces of high-tech apparel for your shopping list.
A health tracker crafted from wood and coated stainless steel, this one’s just for the girls. Bellabeat’s Leaf tracks your activity, sleep and menstrual cycle, letting you know when you’re stressed – and guiding you through meditation exercises if you are. Wear it as a necklace, a bracelet, or just clip it on. And don’t worry about another device needing nightly charging – Leaf’s batteries last six months.
They look like beautifully tailored coats in classic silhouettes, but we hear wearing one of Emel + Aris’s new garments is like hugging a hot water bottle. Concealing a clever infrared heating system, this new British coat collection for men and women could change your winter commute forever.
Powered sports bra
Up your workout with a sports bra that tracks your heart rate, using soft, biometric fibres built right into the fabric. SUPA’s bra syncs with an app to track your progress. If only it could push us out of bed on a cold winter’s morning, too.
Commuter trucker jacket
It looks like a fairly unremarkable denim Levi’s jacket – well, it’s not. Google worked with the jeans giant to weave technology right into the fibres, creating interactive fabric. Just swipe and tap your jacket sleeves to do things like get directions, play music and take calls.
— Jamie Gutfreund (@JamieCentral) January 6, 2016
The Human Fit suit
Earlier this year, Korean mega-corp Samsung debuted a “smart suit” that allows the wearer to unlock their phone, send digital business cards and control other devices, too. It is available only in Korea at this stage, but expect more like this coming soon.
No need to be rude during dinner, just get a Ringly. Bluetooth sends information from your phone straight to your smart (and pretty) bracelet or ring. Subtle vibrations and light changes let you know when important messages come in. The jewellery also tracks your activity – steps taken, calories burned etc – with an app to track your progress.
Nadi X yoga wear
Looking to nail that downward dog? Sydney-born start-up Wearable X has yoga gear that provides live feedback on body position and how long to hold your pose via pulsing, haptic vibrations.
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