You wake up one day, and suddenly everything is a computer. Phones, of course, and televisions. Also cars, watches, books, and even entire homes. But as the smart gospel spreads from desktops to pockets to everyday objects, the one item it has failed to convert is clothing. Fashion is staunch in its stereotype of being “dumb”.
It is certainly not for lack of trying, and people do seem to want it. However, fashion and technology can never seem to hit it off despite being regular bedfellows. “Fashion tech” conjures images of tees with flashing LEDs or the ill-fated Google Glass. The tech-themed Met Gala, “Manus x Machina”, missed the mark with cyborg armour, more flashing LEDs, and silly Tamagotchis. Wearable tech is conspicuously ugly, so it only works for fitness fanatics.
Even if connected clothing somehow looks good, they may not necessarily be all that useful – a sin many so-called smart devices commit. The Project Jacquard jacket, made in partnership between Levi’s and Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects, looks and feels like a quality denim jacket, but with conductive threads woven into the fabric. This allows the jacket to control music playback, mark locations, and perform other minor tricks a smartphone can. The catch? The jacket needs a smartphone to work, and this is where you start to question its reason for existence.
Read more in our May’19 issue, out on newsstands now.