One of the goals of the textile industry is for us to feel fabrics as a second skin and to obtain greater comfort and new benefits from them.
Innovation is disruptive and challenges itself in the aspiration to make fabrics with exceptional and innovative properties into part of our bodies. This glimpse of the future makes it possible to develop fabrics that exceed the characteristics of our epidermal tissue.
Consequently, fabrics take on a new dimension that comes close to a smart epidermal solution. Although the material is artificial, the goal is to make it seem as natural as possible and integrated into the body. These new fabrics have encouraged and set new trends in fashion, among which we find “wearables”.
Technology to wear.
It is possible that innovation and future will not come by adding technological devices to garments, rather by these clothing items being directly technological. This means that we will connect simply by getting dressed.
In fact, what we currently call “wearables”, which can be explained as “technology that we can wear”, is a clothing item with added electronic devices that enable us to connect to other devices.
Tracking movement or the number of daily steps, calculating the calorie intake or checking the heart rate are only some of the new benefits that innovative ultra-electronic fabrics can offer.
In this aspect, there are already t-shirts that include an Internet enabled device which receives and analyzes information on the performance and variables during the user’s sport training.
Another t-shirt is in pilot phase whose fabric comes with a series of integrated microscopic chips and when we put it on, it begins to track our vital signs, which can be remotely monitored by a lab, clinic or medical team.
Google has partnered with the creator of denim to produce an interactive jean jacket for urban cyclists. This jacket includes conductive threads in the sleeve that connect to an electronic tag. This sensitive mechanism allows the user to slide their finger through the fabric, as if it were a touchpad, to control the volume of their mobile phone, check a map or take a phone call.
Athletic wear, the pioneer of new fabrics and interactive garments.
Athletic clothing and equipment–whether for professionals or the general public— is the most innovative sector in the clothing industry. Therefore it has created the largest number of new textile companies that produce technical, specialized and innovative fabrics for each of the sports activities and disciplines.
That is the case of quantifying sportswear, comprised of garments that are capable of quantifying and tracking data generated from sports training through embedded sensors: they track heartbeat, movement, they measure muscle activation and fatigue, as well as over or sub training. This information can be stored in the athlete’s smart phone or the computer of the sports center.
A sweatshirt for polo players with biometric technology in real-time is already available in the market. This smart sweatshirt can synchronize with the user’s smartphone or tablet, which is a clear example of “wearable” technology applied to textile industry. Created with a sophisticated fabric made up of tiny silver fibers interspersed with the other fibers in the fabric -70% polyester, 21% nylon, 9% spandex—this sweatshirt presents the latest developments in biometric technology to monitor the health and fitness of the athlete.
Its extensive network of micro-sensors in touch with the user’s epidermis monitors the amount of calories burnt, heart rate, intensity and energy of motion, stress levels and records the distance traveled. These biometric data recorded during exercise will be transferred via Bluetooth to the user’s smart device in real time, through an app that is available on the brand’s website for those who purchase this smart sweatshirt.
Our garments will continue to present us to others, expressing our uniqueness; they will continue to give us the touch of glamour, eccentricity, bohemia or exclusiveness that we seek when we choose a fashion item, but they will also protect us a lot more.
And remember, in the near future, part of our electronic, digital and communication devices will be on a hanger in our closet.
This article was originally published in Peru Retail