We are fortunate to have been living in an era that will go down in history as the apogee of technological advancement. Technology is an indispensable part of our life today. It has thoroughly morphed all aspects of human life — right from the way we communicate, travel, exchange information to the way we eat, live and drink. Hence, it is but only natural that technology has heralded a propitious change in the way we dress and clothe ourselves today. After the huge success of fitness wearables like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Polar fitness monitors, etc., smartness and intelligence is progressively making inroads into the clothes we wear.
The fashion world, more so in the last few years, is abuzz with words like wearable technology, smart garments, intelligent garments, e-textiles, etc. Although used interchangeably, in a broad sense, they all refer to any piece of clothing with integrated sensors and digital components. The integrated technology monitors the physical conditions of the user and uses big data analytics to predict and show the results. Newer smart clothing technologies can also sense and monitor the environmental condition as well.
Fashion is a term not unknown. The business that started off as a practice of making and selling clothes around the mid-nineteenth century, has evolved into a multi-billion dollar global industry. With the first wave of industrial revolution combined with the rise of globalization and capitalism, fashion has become mass-produced as opposed to the custom or home-produced pieces in the nineteenth century. Remember the days you wished you had done the laundry? You curse under your breath, pick up at-shirt from the dirty pile and leave for the day. The result- You are a stink bomb, the tee has wrinkles that would put a raisin to shame and a stain that screams mustard sauce.
Intelligent Apparel is making lives easier. Now the difference between intelligent apparel and smart cloth is that: “smart” clothing provides a set of data that users must interpret themselves. It’s basically a one-way conversation with a device. However, “intelligent” clothing employs active-response technology, so the garments can interpret data automatically and adjust themselves to accommodate the wearers’ specific needs. Furthermore, intelligent clothing will be available on the market soon, empowering people, especially in hostile settings.