By Victoria Buchanan
Posted on
August 2, 2016

US – Electronics brands are creating smart fabrics that turn garments into digital interfaces.

  • The smart garment market is forecasted to grow from 1m units in 2016 to 5.3m units in 2017, according to Gartner
  • Technology companies are weaving touch and gesture interactivity into textiles

‘From the design perspective, we can really start to expand functionality in a way that can really change what a garment does,’ Amanda Parkes, chief of technology and research at Manufacture NY told the Business of Fashion.

Levi’s forthcoming Commuter jacket, created in collaboration with Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, will be the first commercial garment to feature this type of technology. A series of gestures will enable cyclists to access turn-by-turn directions and information on nearby places, while incoming calls can be answered by touching the sleeve of the jacket.

A collaboration between packaging and label company Avery Dennison and Internet of Things platform EVRYTHNG aims to connect 10bn garments to the internet in the next three years. Garments that feature radio-frequency identification and near-field communication technology could be used by sportswear brands to notify customers about when a product needs to be replaced, and brands with sustainability credentials to reveal the manufacturing process behind their products.