Wearable tech has been a hot topic for years and the luxury fashion community has been weary to acknowledge it. However, with sleek new designs and a new focus on fabric innovation, it seems like “manus and machina” will finally be able to unite.
It is not like luxury fashion has not embraced wearable tech. After all, Alexander McQueen and Chanel are infusing 3D print into their couture offerings with excellent results but the thought of having technology in clothing is worrisome for artisans who design holistically.
Currently, most of the progress in wearable tech fashion has been on wrist-worn accessories. Brands like Samsung and Apple keep pushing this forward and testing new boundaries with each year.
Although Apple seems to have the luxury fashion edge by partnering with brands like Hermès, luxury watchmakers like Montblanc have also crafted wearable tech bands that go with their mechanical watch offerings and are linked to an app. Nonetheless, most of these devices are either fitness trackers or smart phone add-ons and not pieces that double as both chic wardrobe staples and new lifestyle essentials.
More fashion companies are warming up to the idea of this new style with brands like Levi’s partnering with Google to create a jacket for cyclists. Conductive yarn is woven into the left cuff of the jacket enabling touch interactivity so users can tap, swipe or hold to fulfill simple tasks such as changing music, answering calls or accessing navigation information by voice.
Another company that has taken on fabric innovation is Ralph Lauren. With their new polo tech nylon shirts, the aim is to be the ultimate activity trackers for sportswear. The fashion house has woven sensors into the nylon that can track everything from heart rate to breathing patterns.
With the internet and technology being more present in our work and living spaces, smart wear is the next frontier and this could just be the solution the global decline in luxury spending.