E-Textiles: Innovation of Fashion
Now that technology has become part of everyday lives, it is clear that it is now part of our clothing too. We have purses that can recharge phones, coats with internal heating, and some clothing brands are made entirely from recycled garbage. With this growth happening, it is no surprise that the next steps for technology and fashion are electronic textiles, also known as e-textiles.
The history of smart fabrics may seem new, but they have been around for years. In the late 20th century, when people were becoming used to appliances, some clothes combined electricity with clothing and jewelry. By the 1960s, tech-based clothing began to expand, Diana Dew’s electric party dress was invented with features such as light shows and sound alarms. Later on in the last decade of the 20th century, inventor Harry Wainwright, crafted fiber optic materials for clothing and the first CNC machine to infuse fabric and technology. In 1985, Wainwright created the first animated sweatshirt. The Disney parks adopted this technology to make animated coats. These days, e-textiles have advanced to the point where their technology works almost like a smartphone.
In the 2010’s many forms of new wearable technology was created to enhance our lives or improve our daily activities. Some of them include the Fitbit, which is used to measure daily activity, while others are infused with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to connect to other devices. Some new forms of fabric and clothing have even been produced to add new high-tech twists. For example, LED strips have been made to add to costumes and have even helped create a business called Glowy Zoey. In Australia, the company Wearable Experiments, created the Alert Shirt so fans can feel what the players are experiencing. However, in the future some manufacturers want to see clothing made with technology that is invisible to the wearer. Some of these visions include clothing that can connect to a data cloud or making fabrics with technology woven in the fabric. These visions clearly establish that as time goes on technology and fashion are becoming one and the same, and high-tech clothes could become as commonly used as smart phones.