Dancing on the fine line between science fiction and reality, modern day science and technology have created a world in which life-saving wearables can advance the healing and quality of life for disabled and geriatric patients. 3-D prosthetics and printed organs, limbs controlled by the mind thanks to sensor implants, and bionic brain cells for mood enhancement and intellect are just a few of the ways in which man and machine are taking their relationship to the next level. The ever-increasing level of intimacy between man and machine moves forward as advancements in technology bring new ways to enrich our lives.
On June 29th, 2007, the first iPhone was released and it took the Globe by storm. The introduction of this new technology symbolized more than just a new era of connectedness and information access; it symbolized a readiness to invite technology into some of the most intimate and personal areas of our lives. Many people jokingly refer to their iPhone or Android as their significant other. Sleeping next to it nightly, eating most meals with it, using the restroom together, traveling together, etc. The same year the iPhone was released, Fitbit launched the very first fitness wearable and sold nearly 5,000 units during their first fiscal year. It woul
d take another 7 years before wearable technology would gain mass acceptance.
In response to this budding romance between man and technology the concept of wearable technology has permeated into the fashion world. A harmonious matrimony of technology and fashion is being celebrated by designers around the Globe. Spearheading the way in which wearers interact with their garments through wearable technology, Pauline van Dongen, a Dutch fashion designer revealed a touch-sensitive denim jacket at the 2017 SXSW festival. The denim jacket is woven with conductive fibers that connect a series of sensors with motorized parts. When the sensors are activated through touch, the jacket responds by giving a gentle rub on the wearer’s upper back. This gentle stroke mimics that of one someone might give to a friend or lover. The jacket is machine washable and nearly indistinguishable from a regular denim jacket.
As wearable technology continues to advance into realms we only once dreamed about, designers like Pauline van Dongen are helping to positively shape technological advancement in the fashion and textile industry. By designing technologically enhanced garments that are sensual and reflexive to human movement and touch, mankind’s relationship with technology will continue to foster a deep sense of intimacy; perhaps even one where man and machine become one, but like, in a really stylish way.