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Wearable techis a trend on the rise, the Financial Times is reporting. According to them, 14 million wearable tech devices were produced in 2011, and by 2016, the global market is predicted to reach $6 billion.
What's wearable tech? It's essentially what it sounds like—clothing that directly involves digital technology in one way or another.
In the accessories arena, examples include Nike's Fuel band, a bracelet allows runners to track their workouts with an app. Oakley's Airwave goggles—luxury tech ski glasses that integrate GPS, Bluetooth, email, SMS, and music playlists—sold out nearly instantly at Harrods in December when they launched. And DVF famously debuted the Google Glass, high tech specs that integrate a video camera.
In terms of fabrication, Uniqlo is one company that has been extremely vocal about the importance of tech innovation. "In general, the apparel industry isn't about continual process improvement or making the perfect piece of denim, it's about chasing trends. At Uniqlo we're thinking ahead. We're thinking about how to create new, innovative products," Fast Retailing CEO Tadashi Yanai has said. From their wildly popular heat tech fabrics to their in-store experience (their "magic mirror," for example, which lets customers virtually try on any color of the same product), the company is aligning itself with technological innovation.
Image via PSFK
Even Dita von Teese has incorporated QR codes that link to her Twitter page into her new dress line. "It was very important to me to align with a company that understands the power of social media, because I've been very successful in using Twitter and Facebook personally to reach my fans to tell them about my performances and various projects. Every update [is] made by me personally, and I think people respond to the authenticity of that," she said.
The Financial Times has identified some additional, even more Minority Report-y expressions of the trend. ElectricFoxy is developing a yoga outfit with embedded sensors that buzz when your posture is incorrect.
A bra that is supposed to detects breast cancer is also in the works at First Warning Systems.
And "energy scavenging" is happening. Someday "you'll be able to go for a jog and the energy your outfit absorbs from the sun will charge your iPod," they report.
Welcome to the future, everyone.
· The Fabric of Our Lives [Financial Times]
· DVF Spring 2013: The Queen Of Fashion Goes High Tech [Racked]