A recent report released by Grand View Research, Inc. stated that the Smart Textile market size is going to be worth $5.55 Billion by 2025. Basing their forecast on the increasing penetration of smartphones and other high-tech or smart devices, the U.S. based market research and consulting company anticipate a substantial growth owed to increasing product demand from several applications, such as sports and fitness.
Fueling Market Growth
Defining smart textiles as a ‘device’ that can communicate information of the wearer, such as physiological parameters including location, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature, what I found most interesting in the report was the companies that Grand View Research stated to be fueling the market growth. They included: Adidas AG; Ohmatex ApS; Peratech Ltd.; Infineon Technologies; Clothing+; Fibertronic Ltd.; Weartech; and Tektronix, Inc. When it comes to the sectors that are rapidly adopting smart textiles, their report affirmed that the principal industries were healthcare, military and sports and fitness. That being said, they also predicted that the fashion and entertainment industry is expected to propel the market growth in the coming years, especially with the miniaturisation of electronics.
Although the report promises a rosy future for the smart textiles sector, it still has quite a few limitations such as the need to make sensors compatible with fabric. Mass adoption requires features such as optimum comfort and wearability. Consumers are less likely to invest in smart clothes that hinder them instead of helping them. “The use of conventional cables had been a major hindrance to product adoption. With the advent of smart textiles, which eliminate the bundled filaments of conventional cables, a higher degree of flexibility can be ensured,” states the report.
Futuristic Fashion The Way Forward?
The promise of growth in this space means that we should expect forward-thinking startups to continue to bring their innovation to our attention and that fashion brands might start investing more in technologies destined to change the clothes we wear. If 2025 is too far in the future for you, the good news is that there are a few futuristic fashion products that you can check out now.
Nadi X by Wearable Experiments
Yoga has gone from trend to our way of life. With many ‘yogis’ born every minute, there is paramount importance placed in knowing the correct form of your positions and this is where Nadi X can step in.
Created by technology company Wearable Experiments, Nadi X is the brainchild of founders Billie Whitehouse and Ben Moir. With the ability to communicate and correct your form by using subtle vibrations to improve form, Nadi X pants have gone from strength to strength since their launch.
When it comes to the technology, it is woven between nylon layers, and the haptic vibrations have been built into a full physical language, which allows the technology to communicate feedback to help correct your form and achieve your fitness goals. The frequency and intensity of each vibration changes based on the body position and angle.
H1 Heated Jacket by LOOMIA
LOOMIA has spent the past three years developing a soft circuit layer that allows for wire-free heating systems. Using their patented technology, they have managed to create a versatile heated jacket that is thin and form-fitting rather than puffy and uncomplimentary.
Designed for the woman on the go, the H1 heated jacket has three back heating sections, providing warmth and comfort in any environment. While the LEL can withstand a series of washings, the team recommends hand washing to preserve the layer’s top heat. The included battery pack lasts up to two hours before needing to be recharged and can also charge your phone or other devices. The jacket is controlled with a simple on/off switch. The team chose to make this technology app-less for ease of use (no need to pull out your phone to control the jacket).
The Mercury Jacket by Ministry of Supply
Last year Ministry of Supply introduced their functional and voice-controlled intelligent outerwear on Kickstarter. The Mercury heated jacket was designed to learn the wearer’s behaviour, so it can automatically heat up to their optimal temperature. Created with the ability to get better over time, its USP is that the more feedback you input into their app, the better your smart jacket gets at learning your preferences.
Using real-time to adapt the heat, the Mercury jacket triangulates the perfect amount of heat, so you don’t have to worry about overheating. Running on a standard USB, 2-amp output battery, you will get up to 4.5 hours of continuous heat at max power.
Did you know that each year, two billion pairs of tights are produced, worn a few times and then discarded? This is a problem that Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forseberg of Swedish Stockings might have solved, so we no longer have to use cheap non-biodegradable textiles which can take 30 to 40 years to decompose.
The two women have committed to a sustainable process, which includes using factories that use eco-friendly dyes, post-dyeing water treatments, and solar power. It is a method that has allowed them to create beautiful pantyhose from recycled yarn and natural fibres, which is quite an achievement. The icing on the cake is that being that Swedish Stockings are also looking to invest in a recycling program that will involve them collecting hosiery from around the world so they can grind it down into a filler material in glass fibre tanks which they can then use.
Coats are no longer just a coat — the advancement of technology seen to that. There are so many fantastic fashion brands born of the intelligent coat movement that it is hard to recommend just one, so here are my top 3.
Emel + Aris is a British brand that has created a collection of stylish wearable tech designed with revolutionary heating technology that uses a lightweight, inert polymer instead of wires. Their coats produce FIR (far infrared) heat energy that is absorbed by the skin to heat the muscles and increase blood flow. The benefits of Far Infrared (FIR) therapy have long been recognised, and recent research has validated the vast range of medical claims of FIR, including increased blood flow, pain relief and boosted the immune system.
Moon Berlin, the first fashion tech brand to come up with the heated cashmere coat, had me at hello when they introduced their unique jacket which housed a groundbreaking battery-powered heating panel capable of heating you up within 60 seconds. Since then, they have added other womenswear products, but it was their coat that put them on the fashion map.
Then let us not forget the Smart Wear Company, who on 9th May 2018, announced the launch of its new Smart Jackets on Kickstarter. Designed to include the latest in heat generation and management technologies, the startup created a collection that successfully mixed fashion with technology, creating a unique gadget that designed to make us feel warm no matter what the temperature conditions outside were.