The Clothes of the Future
For many of us, intelligent clothing belongs to the future or at best to science-fiction, we remember the self-drying, self adjusting jacket Marty wore in Back to the Future!
Smart clothes have been announced for 2 decades but are still rare and difficult to find. This emerging and fascinating market is developing real fast, so hop on board!
The 7th annual Smart Fabrics Conference, held last April at London's Russel Hotel, was a good occasion for designers to present their products and exchange opinions and views on this sector. But first of all we need a little definition to understand what we are dealing with here:
What is Intelligent Clothing?
The concept of intelligent clothing is not new. It really started with the artificial fibers or textile treatments, such as the waterproof finish on the Macintosh raincoat (1823), rayon (end of the 19th century) or the extra light nylon (1959). But since the explosion of IT and communication technologies, the textile industry realized a real opportunity lies ahead.
It is quite difficult to give a precise definition of “Intelligent clothing”.What unites them all is the fact that they give the wearer an asset, an extra functionality. It does not only cover your body and protects you from the cold, the wind or the rain, but it gives you a plus, a hand, a little something that is going to make your life easier, funnier, safer.
Wearable technologies vs smart textiles
One can distinguish really 2 types of SMARTWEAR: wearable technologies and Smart Textiles. Don’t worry, here come the examples
Solar panels integrated in clothes or accessories
The solar jacket is an excellent example of wearable technology. It combines the functions of a classic jacket (protect you from cold, waterproof, looking cool), and it is a portable power plant. Thanks to an extra light solar panel at the back, linked to a mini-battery, you can charge your phone, GPS, camera… wherever you want, when you need it. This also exists on hiking backpacks and cool city bags. The idea is to take you towards energetic self-sufficiency.Continued on the next page