Fashion can be forgiving … sometimes. Forget fiddly watches, wireless earbuds that don’t stay put and unattractive virtual-reality glasses. “Smart clothing” is set to supercharge the fashion industry.
Fashion can be forgiving … sometimes. Forget fiddly watches, wireless earbuds that don’t stay put and unattractive virtual-reality glasses. “Smart clothing” is set to supercharge the fashion industry. Strap in for the ride as smart clothing is the next generation of apparel that goes beyond wearables and will change our lives forever.
Traditional wearables have evolved significantly in recent years, so this new breed of technology is much more than just monitoring how many steps you’ve taken or your heart rate. The big difference between smart clothing and traditional apparel is integrated technology such as sensors that are embedded into the fabric to “read” your body. Smart clothes can connect you to technology from head to toe and enable everything from paying for your morning joe and playing music to mapping travel routes, measuring biometrics and even monitoring your emotions. All of this and more—including bras that automatically adjust support under different situations—can be done today without touching or tapping your phone or a screen.
The concept of connected clothing requires e-textiles, e-threads and sensors to make it a reality. France-based Primo 1 D’s ultra-high-frequency RFID yarn enables the embedding of RFID tags directly into fabrics. The e-thread is an RFID yarn with the antenna built into the yarn strand, which allows for a truly invisible, inseparable and immutable integration of material and fabric. U.K.-based Advanced E-Textiles is making thread-sized microelectronic tags that are washable and can simply be sewn right into a garment and then be read by RFID. Most consumers would be unable to detect the tiny tags when wearing the garment.