In the future of work fashion, data is the new black. The clothes we wear to work will be sensor-embedded and connected, monitoring stress levels, reminding us of appointments, alerting us and others when there’s important work to be done and more, says Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, author of the 2016 book “Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabrics,” and head of a consulting firm specializing in wearable technology and smart textiles. Much of this technology already exists in apparel used in the military, medicine and sports. Blue-collar and white-collar workplaces are the next frontier.
Say goodbye to smartphone reminders. Instead, the sleeve of your shirt, suit jacket or dress will glow, blink or vibrate with alerts.
Launched in 2017, Google’s Jacquard platform allows manufacturers to place a small, Bluetooth-enabled tag, which connects to an app, in clothing, backpacks, shoes and more. A combination of specially developed threads, embedded electronics and software allows the wearer to tap, swipe or hold an area of the garment to read and respond to messages and receive notifications. Levi Strauss & Co.’s Levi’s brand already uses the technology in a $198 denim trucker jacket, after first trying it in a jacket aimed at urban cyclists. For that design, the company studied bike messengers to improve the experience of cycling to, from and for work, according to Paul Dillinger, Levi’s head of global product innovation.