They have already brought solar charged jackets and an indestructible kevlar hoodie to the world. Now twin brothers Nick and Steve Tidball, the men behind the clothing brand Vollebak, is releasing the first edition of a graphene coated jacket.
So what’s the deal with graphene then? Well, actually it is the thinnest possible layer of graphite, the same material that’s used in pencils. It’s only one single atom (!) thick, and also the strongest, lightest and most conductive material there is. Which makes it suitable for a number of things, now including clothing.
The Vollebak jacket is reversible, and is coated with graphene on one side and the other not. Depending on how you wear it, the jacket will interact with both your body and your surroundings in different ways. For instance, the jacket will not only conduct your body heat, but it can also store it and thereby functioning like a radiator. Also, bacteria can’t grow on graphene.
“When clothing can start conducting heat and electricity all sorts of cool things can start happening. It means that over the next decade your clothing can start to become a platform for other innovations. And that’s really what we’re interested in”, the team says in a press release.
Forget next season. The future is the thing to look for in fashion right now. Starting on September 4th, Munich Fabric House and fashion tech magazine FashNerd are collaborating on an exhibition/experience that will focus on the fashion of the future. Designed as a bespoke walk in-closet, the event will showcase a lineup of fashion tech brands such as Wearable X, Lorna & Bel, Thesis Couture, Emel + Aris and Pyrates that demonstrate the potential and advantages of fashion tech.
In a press release about the event, Lorna, the founder of Lorna & Bel said:
”We see the fashion space as having limitless potential for all kinds of tech integration, big and small, especially with technology being so central to our lives. It is exciting to see brands integrating technology into fashion in fresh and innovative ways. The Wardrobe of the Future gives us a peek into how our wardrobes will evolve. It shows how fashion can put technology to work to give us performance-driven products that make our lives a little easier while still speaking the language of style.”
The event will go on until September 6th.
Lorna & Bel, bags with built in phone chargers.
Smart fabric clothing from Pyrates.
With the demise of several smart jewellery companies this year, it’s refreshing to see Swarg Tech’s new piece of smart jewellery Sahki, with its beautiful jewel embellishments. So what about the tech specs?
Well, apart from the fitness tracker and SOS trigger you see in most wearables, this one also has a child tracking mode and an integrated AI voice assistant to help you add items to your shopping list or switch on the lights for instance.
With the growing popularity of voice assistants, it is likely that the integration of them into smart jewllery might be a winning combo.
They both made tech look good on the wearer, while also helping to manage their electronic lives without having to pick up their phones. But now we have to say goodbye to two of the most promising wearable tech brands so far of the fashion tech era.
Ringly, founded in 2013 by Christina Mercando D’Avignon, sadly decided to exit the market just a little over a week ago. On the same day, WiseWear, founded by Jerry Wilmink and fronted by fashion icon Iris Apfel, filed for bankruptcy. Hopefully we’ll see new things from the creators of these brands in the future though.
Iris Apfel, wearing Wise Wear smart jewelry, with Wise Wear creator Jerry Wilmink.
Soon you’l be able to talk to Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, in more places than in the e-commerce giant’s own device Echo. Now the company has taken yet another step towards becoming a serious part of digital every day life, by letting other companies use Alexa in their products.
One of them is a pair of smart glasses manufactured by the small company Vuzix Corp that’s going to be showcased at CES2018 in Las Vegas this week. The Vuzix Blade, as the glasses are called, can communicate with the voice activated digital assistant and also show information like for instance maps, directions, social media feeds or sport scores in the wearer’s view field, according to Business of Fashion. This is not the only third-party company that uses Alexas communication skills. In October, Sonos released a smart speaker with Alexa’s system for music playing.
Fashion-wise, they do have a long way to go though. Looking like your typical movie theatre 3D glasses, this is not the product that’s going to popularize the smart glasses, I am sorry to say. But I guess we’ll just keep on waiting.
Screenshots of The Vuzix Blade smart glasses, powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice activated digital assistant.
What’s next to replace our beloved smart phones? That has been an ongoing discussion for years among futurists, technologists and basically anyone who is interested in the future of our everyday tech. Ideas are constantly flying around, and one of the latest are one from the digital communications company and mobile network operator O2. Together with beauty brand Nails Inc, they have designed a prototype finger nail that doubles as a mobile phone. Using Bluetooth technology, the mobile device can be tucked away and in the meantime the user can answer the phone, play a song or redial the last number called, using just the nail. Nina Bibby of O2 shared this about the prototype:
– The way our customers interact with one another will change drastically in the next thirty years, and as a brand we’ll need to adapt to this. We are always looking ahead to the next developments in mobile and to be able to bridge the gap between fashion and tech is a really exciting challenge. People have been customising mobile phones for years, but this is the next step towards tech becoming part of how we decorate our bodies.
This actualizes the question about how tech is merging with our bodies; with AI getting closer and closer to what used to be confined to a human brain and the way machine learning has made Virtual Reality feel more real than ever before. Perhaps this prototype can appear a ”kinder”, more concrete version of the tech of the future. Easier to handle, and easier to adapt to.
Photo cred: O2
A couple of weeks ago I was pondering if the smart watch might be having a comeback, considering the releases of several new ones in spite of recent years of dropping sales. And proof of that just keeps getting stronger. Just recently a new smart watch, that differs from most others, saw the light of day. The new collection from New York Standard Watch hasn’t just kept the traditional wristwatch look with the round watch face and the leather straps, but has actually skipped the whole touch screen altogether. Yes, no touch screen! How does that even work, you ask.
Well, they offer all the traditional notification and fitness tracking functions such as steps and calorie count, but display them on an analogue dashboard instead. It is actually kind of genius when you think about it.
Me and many others have long argued that a piece of wearable tech simply must be aesthetically pleasing for us to even consider putting it on. But being easy on the eye might actually not be enough to succeed. It might also need that hands on, analogue, three dimensional feel to really make it. That perfect merge between tradition and innovation, the just right mix of old and new.
I’m not saying NYSW has the final solution to this, but theirs is certainly an interesting step in that direction.
Photo credit: NYSW