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Connected clothing - will it make the cut?

The fashion industry is switching on to technology.

Clothes that tell your washing machine what to do could mean the end of laundry disasters, inventories that manage themselves will make stocktakes a breeze, and jackets that gain you VIP entry into clubs - that's what the future has in store for our favourite clothing.

The main reason for this is the dramatic drop in price for RFID technology over the last decade; retailers and designers are now seeing item-level connectedness as an attainable value bank.

With so many consumers expecting high-speed, high-quality services now, connected clothing could be a way to help solve logistical problems with the massive inventories that stockists are having to turn over.

Pairing them with beacon technology could give people personalised, contextual information wherever the retailers wanted.

Other benefits might be locked-in personal information on all your clothing; losing your favourite jacket might not be such a problem anymore.

So is it time to forget wearables? Andrea Bell, director of insight on consumer behaviour and commerce for trend-forecasting firm WGSN, predicted that by 2030 wearables will be obsolete.

“We won’t need wearables,” she said at the conference on November 10th, “It will just be in our clothes.”

The question is, how smart do you want your clothes to be?

Imagine you’ve just purchased a new jacket from your favorite brand. You put it on for the first time, and scan a tag embedded in the sleeve with your phone. A menu of options pops up. You can find information about the jacket’s design, how the brand selected only sustainable materials, and details on the exact factory where the product was made. You plug in your earphones and listen to a playlist the brand put together.

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