The concept of wearable technology has been around for some years, but it’s never been more fashionable or more effective than the current incarnation of high-tech fashion. While we’re all familiar with the newest wave of Smart Watches and heart rate monitors or pedometers that connect to your Smartphone, the newest wearable tech makes it stylish and so easy to incorporate into materials that everyone from the military to top designers are getting in on this latest trend. From fabric that incorporates sensors woven into fibers to fitness trackers encased in designer jewelry, wearable technology has never been so desirable or accessible.
In fact, many of the top design schools like Cornell’s Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation and the Design Institute of Technology offer sought after courses on wearable tech and their students have created runway worthy pieces that range from heat sensing, colour changing fashion to a line of maternity wear that wirelessly monitors the mom-to-be’s health. Cornell design student Blake Uretsky has fashioned a collection of skirts, shirts, dresses, and pants that incorporate conductive silver fibers into the fabric. These fibers are responsible for sending up-to-date info to a Smartphone program that can instantly check vitals and receive alerts about the mothers activity levels, elevated stress, and any other dangers based on body temperature, blood pressure and respiration levels. The innovate, award-winning line of maternity wear is also easily adapted for every stage of pregnancy so expectant mothers wouldn’t need to keep buying new clothing throughout their terms.
Top designers have been quick in recent years to jump on the technology bandwagon with brands like Polo, Guess, Guicci, and Swarovski debuting highly stylish versions of high-tech fashion. Shunning its preppy style for something more sporty, Polo by Ralph Lauren has developed the Polo Tech Shirt that it’s currently testing on the pro tennis circuit. This high-tech shirt incorporates sensors woven into the nylon and tracks everything from the wearer’s breathing patterns to heart rate. Meanwhile iconic crystal jeweler Swarovski has been working with fitness tracker Misfit to create a line of bracelets and necklaces that keep track of your heart rate, sleep cycles, and fitness habits in incredible style while linking wirelessly to your Smart Phone.
While wearable fabrics are becoming more common on the runway and on the street it’s also become a highly invaluable tool to various military, police, and fire departments around the world. Transmitting real-time information that relates troops health, position, and even stress levels can be extremely useful and today’s versatile fabrics allow for a variety of uses that can camouflage, track, and protect with greater ability. Troops exact positions can be relayed through GPS, a firefighter’s respiration can be monitored, and a police officer’s stress levels can be kept track of, all without the need for extra, bulky equipment.
While many of us are still waiting for the pair of pants that will automatically let itself out after a big dinner it may be that high-tech fabrics, clothing and wearable technology in general will make us so aware of our habits that we won’t even get to that point. Imagine receiving a notification on your crystal Swarovski bracelet that lets you know that while you’ve been eating your stylish Polo shirt has notified the program that you’re short of breath and perspiring.