The problem with wearables: designers spend so much time focusing on function they oft forget form — and, accordingly, make doohickeys that you’d never wear unless you were Sam Flynn.
Proving wearables can be a product of fashion and function, Google and Levi’s introduced this week Project Jacquard, a collaboration that sees the humble Commuter Trucker Jacket given touch-sensitive fabric made up of metallic alloys that enable wearers to swipe a finger on their sleeve to answer calls or manage apps and playlists by tapping on a Bluetooth-connected cuff.
Essentially, it’s classic style meets hi-tech textile.
The jacket’s removable “smart tag,” which is connected to the cuff, is linked up with the wearer’s phone and is outfitted with a rechargeable battery, LEDs and a haptic motor to handle vibration feedback.
Project Jacquard is “a blank canvas for the fashion industry” that’s meant to be improved upon over time and the jacket is set launch next spring, according to Google.
“Designers can use it as they would any fabric, adding new layers of functionality to their designs, without having to learn about electronics,” the tech giant says. “We are also developing custom connectors, electronic components, communication protocols, and an ecosystem of simple applications and cloud services.”
If you do pick one up, just don’t forget the remove the smart tag before wash.