Fashion connected: the IoT revolution in the textile sector

Beatriz Sanz Baños    20 January, 2018

Although it seems straight out of a futuristic novel, already connected clothes do exist. Data exchange between these clothes and mobile devices makes them able to take calls, regulate body temperature, and show the feelings or mood of the wearer. Technology applied to fashion is a reality that advances at a vertiginous speed, but it is a bit too expensive. The athletic, labor and health fields are those who have embraced by the advances in connectivity applied to clothing and, although it is still early, it will spread to the general public and become a common sight in the streets as the fabrication becomes cheaper.

For example, in 2017 Levi’s and Google they conducted a large textile-technological bet with their model denim jacket Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket. The novelty is its compatibility and connectivity with the mobile phone. With its buttons and sensors, a simple tap on the jacket sleeve can activate the music player, take a call or get directions from Google Maps.

We have a closer example as it comes from a brand created by two Spanish engineers. The brand Wendumanufactures shirts with the ability to regulate the temperature between 20 and 40 degrees. The t-shirt, connected to a mobile device, is cooled or heated according to the data set by the user from their mobile device. It is specially designed for military use, law enforcement or other professionals who spend long hours outdoors.

Data exchange between clothes and mobile devices makes them able to take calls, regulate body temperature, and show the mood

There are even supplements that help prevent allergies, such as the scarves from Caroline Van Rentergherm, a young entrepreneur who realized that the masks used while riding her bike around Paris did not prevent his eyes didn’t prevent her eyes to weep or an itchy throat, she would always end up using her scarf to protect herself. She has launched the Be AWAIR application that reports on the air quality and users can customize it to receive notifications about how to prevent allergies. The next step is the launch of WAIR scarves, that filter the air and it also includes a sensor that analyzes air quality and changes its color when pollution is too high.

For those who love the sea there are two models that can be adapted to the needs of each user. The first is of the firm Spinali, Who brought Neviano2, the advanced version of his first connected swimsuit that directly integrates UV sensors and reports a “Cream Alert” that warns users that they need to renew their protection with a message to the mobile and even recognizes the location and recommended places to visit.

The second model is geared more adventurous surfers, it’s the intelligent neoprene “Wetsuit” Emerid enterprise that incorporates an emergency identification system that works with NFC technology enabling the suit to be located from the mobile phone.

Another company that has made interesting contributions to connected fashion is cute Circuit. It’s renowned in the market for digital wearables. Its products have been seen on stage with artists like U2 or Katy Perry. Their garments are made mostly with intelligent microelectronics fibers and avant-garde design. In addition, they monitor the social networks of those who wear them and they can control the illumination of the fabric from the mobile phone.

From the technological Korean giant Samsung arrives Samsung NFC smart suit. They have made it with Rogatis that allows the user to unlock their phone, exchange business cards digitally and configure the devices in the office and driving modes.

Finally, one cannot speak of intelligent clothing in Spain without mentioning the Madrid catwalk Samsung EGO that although started in 2006 as a parallel initiative to the Mercedes Fashion Week in Madrid, since 2013 it has gradually positioned itself as a referent in the connected fashion field, giving visibility to new talent.

Technology applied to fashion is a reality that advances at a vertiginous speed

The best example of this trend is the Spanish Constanza More, winner of the latest edition of Samsung EGO Innovation Project, with its Quantum project. The head of the firm has developed a form of emotional communication by light thanks to an application installed on the mobile phone. Thus, connected clothing can express feelings previously selected with patterns for positive emotions.

The Quantum collection consists of shirts, jackets, vests, pants, short dresses, silk and satin. To turn them into smart materials like methacrylate, plastic and anodized aluminum that is easy to connect with the mobile phone of the owner and configure them.

There are many possibilities that we currently have to be connected with what surrounds us; it stands to reason that clothes can’t be left behind. The technology allows us to connect our daily lives, improving our experiences of the day and gathering the best information about our routines to improve or modify them according to our needs.

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