Scientists are used to pushing the envelope and blazing trails. Fashion designers are no different. That’s why it should come as no surprise that some of the most innovative technologies can actually be found in clothing.
Even the best science fiction writers couldn’t dream of the fashions currently on the market. From socks that can track your running distance to stylish gear that charges your phone on the go, there is simply no limit to what can be designed by the most brilliant scientists and fashion gurus. The future is now!
Here are some of the latest examples of how the worlds of technology and fashion collide.
Fitness Tracking Clothes
Fitness trackers have come a long way since the pedometers of yore. Even the FitBit is old news, now that there are fitness tracking clothes and jewelry that capture an incredible amount of data.
For example, if you want to target specific muscles during your workout, then Athos clothing can show you whether you are truly strengthening the correct muscles. The special fabric communicates muscle effort to a smartphone app, which gives you detailed information about which muscles are doing the most work. It can even help you avoid injury by allowing you to have real time feedback on your workout.
Another example of innovative fitness clothing is the OMbra, which tracks your heart and respiratory rates, calories burned, distance run and more. What makes smart fitness clothes so appealing? Perhaps it’s because the sensors give more accurate data than any other wearable fitness tracker. But smart clothes are also a welcome innovation because it means having to worry about one less thing. Watches and wristbands are easy to forget as you head out to the gym. Socks and underwear? Not so much.
Charge Your Phone Anywhere
Jackets with solar panels designed to charge your cell phone on the go have been around for a few years. The initial designs, however, made it painfully obvious that you were traipsing around with solar panels glued to your jacket. That’s why it’s refreshing to see such a good, practical idea turned into a more fashionable design, and to see other clothing options arrive on the market.
A solar-powered dress hit the runways a couple years ago, and sunglasses with discreet solar cells can also charge your gadgets.
The innovations don’t stop there, however. A new hybrid energy fabric has been designed by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and it harvests energy from the sun and wind. It can then power your smartphone, iPod, Bluetooth headset, etc. The best part is that the fabric can be colorful and small, making it easy to accessorize outfits without calling attention to the fact that you’re charging your phone on the go. The fabric could be integrated into a hat, scarf or bracelet, or into lighter clothes like summery dresses.
Get the Perfect Fit
Many people, women in particular, either love jeans or hate them. For some, it’s easy to shop for jeans because virtually every cute pair in a specific size will fit them. For others, finding jeans that fit their curves just right is a challenge. It’s not fun to spend hours in the dressing room trying to find a pair that doesn’t sag or stretch in all the wrong places.
That’s what makes the Like a Glove leggings a true game-changer. Sensors embedded in the fabric take precise measurements of your legs, from the circumference of your calves, thighs, hips and waist to the length of your legs. The sensors relay information to a smartphone app, which then shows you jeans that will provide the best fit. You can conveniently shop online at outfitters like Tobi.com for jeans that you know will fit, saving you a lot of time and frustration in the meantime!
And for the men in your life, the MTailor app skips over the hassle of going to a tailor to be fitted for a suit. Like the Like a Glove app, MTailor will then show you blazers, dress shirts and pants that you can purchase in your perfect size. Clothes that are both practical and stylish are becoming increasingly common. Whether you love tracking data or simply want to enjoy the convenience of integrated technology, smart clothes are a fun addition to your wardrobe and can satisfy the geek and fashionista in us all.
Cathy Habas is a Louisville-based freelance writer specializing in fashion, health and home improvement. She received her Bachelor of Art's degree from Indiana University Southeast in 2014 and has been writing professionally ever since. In her spare time, Cathy loves to spend time outdoors with her posse of dogs when the weather's nice.