Size of the global smart clothing market in 2016—$150 million with shipments of 800,000 units
Market expected to grow to $4 billion by 2024, shipments to grow at over 50% CAGR
The wearable segment, as we know it, is changing. It is no longer just about smartwatches and fitness bands that one can strap on the wrist to track steps, pulse and receive calls. Users now have a bevy of smart shirts, jackets, shoes, socks and even jewellery that can help users in ways in which smartwatches cannot.
Smart shirts and jackets for the wardrobe
This new breed of shirts and jackets can do many of those basic things that a smartwatch can. Arrow came up with smart shirt ( ₹2,999) with an in-built near field communication (NFC) chip on the cuff that can be paired with an Arrow mobile app on the smartphone, allowing users to switch their phone from silent to vibrate to auto reply mode by just tapping on the cuff. A similar option is Levi’s Commuter X Jacquard ($350; approx ₹24,876), a non-stretchable denim jacket designed in collaboration with Google. It has an in-built NFC tag with 14 days of battery backup. When connected to a smartphone, it allows user to a control music, screen phone calls and get directions by tapping or brushing on the sleeve.
A Hyderabad-based startup Broadcast Signals has developed a smart T-shirt called Sygnal ( ₹2,499), which can track users’ daily steps, calories burned and distance covered. It has in-built sensors along with a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth module on the back and a switch on the left sleeve.
New wearables for fitness
Consider the Nadi X yoga pants ($180; approx ₹12,787) by New York-based startup Wearable X that can identify yoga positions and give real-time feedback on the accuracy of the positions with a gentle vibration around hips, knees and ankles. Users can get additional feedback by syncing it with their smartphone on the companion app. Los Angeles-based fashion company Lunya has developed smart pyjamas called Restore that can absorb and convert body heat into infrared energy and recycle it back to encourage better muscle recovery and enhance relaxation.
Wearables for your feet
Other than fitness trackers (like Stride, from Goqii) which users can tie on their shoes to get a more accurate assessment of steps, Nike has auto lacing backetball /basketball/ shoes called Adapt BB ($350; approx ₹24,872) that can tighten or loosen itself to fit into the users’ feet by itself. So if the shoes detect a swelling in the feet due to constant running, the laces automatically loosen up.
Fitness start-up Sensoria offers smart socks ($200; ₹14,219) with sensors embedded into each pair and a connected anklet device that has to be worn over the socks. It can track how the user’s foot lands while walking or running. When connected to a smartphone, its companion app can deliver a more detailed report on steps, speed and distance covered.
Smart trinkets for the fashion conscious
Motiv’s titanium ring ($199; ₹14,139) has an in-built optical heart rate sensor and accelerometer that can track steps distance and even detect sleeping patterns. Available in 7 sizes and 3 colours, it offers three days of battery backup. Bellabeat Leaf Urban ($99; ₹7,034), a wellness tracker designed like a leaf and made of wood composite and steel, can be worn as a necklace and can track activity, stress and even sleep.