The fashion world seems largely insulated from the world of tech. While refinements happen quietly behind the scenes every day, for many brands clothing is made from the same cotton, wool, and cashmere it’s always been made from. But a revolution is slowly building in fashion, as technology works up new fabrics, new ways of using them, and new ways for your clothes to protect you, monitor your health, and power your gadgets. The era of “smart clothes” is beginning — and it’s going to change everything.
At the most basic level, smart clothes are made of textiles with circuits and sensors woven into the very fabric. For example, Google’s Project Jacquard worked closely with Levi’s to create a “smart” version of their classic trucker jacket. Just plug in your phone, connect a discreet control module at the sleeve, and you can listen to music, get directions, or take calls without having to open up your phone. Or, for the yogis out there, there’s the Nadi X pant, a set of yoga pants that gently vibrate to guide you into the right yoga position. But that’s just the beginning; these are the flip-phones of smart clothes, with the iPhone still on the way.