UNDER THE WEATHER
Weather-tech apparel is the latest fashion innovation
As climate change causes extreme weather pattern shifts across the globe, apparel brands are mitigating the challenge of dressing for unpredictable environments by engineering highly designed, high-tech, and even geo-targeted offerings in an effort to reduce unknowns for discerning consumers.
For last year’s 2018 Winter Olympic Games, heritage American brand Ralph Lauren designed self-heating parkas in red, white, and blue for U.S. athletes to wear in the opening ceremony. Each coat featured a built-in battery pack that heated electronic-printed inks contained in the coat lining, radiating heat to the wearer. The wireless heating system also allowed each athlete to choose from three different heat settings when using the coat so the wearer could adjust the temperature to their comfort—an innovative fashion function that was well-suited to the cold of Pyeongchang County in South Korea.
MINISTRY OF SUPPLY
Don’t call Ministry of Supply a mere fashion brand: the tech startup engineers high-performing apparel that synchronizes with the human body. Their latest wearable tech offering is the Mercury Intelligent Heated Jacket, which provides transitional heat as the wearer moves through different environments. The sleek and unisex design of the coat belies an underlying microcontroller system that uses voice control, A.I., and aggregate data on user preferences, temperature, and the wearer’s movement to provide the perfect amount of heat wherever the wearer is—innovative tech features that separate Ministry’s heated jacket from other offerings on the market. The jacket, still in prototyping stage, first launched on Kickstarter priced at $295.
The athletic wear brand’s latest take on smart shoes involved the launch of a series of city-specific sneakers that have functionality tailored toward the vastly different needs of runners in select international cities. Adidas launched the first sneaker of this series in October of 2017 with the AM4LDN—for “Adidas made for London”—and has since rolled out shoes tailored for runners in other cities, including Paris and NYC. The success of this highly targeted exercise was only possible with the brand’s state of the art automated Speedfactory in Germany, which allows the brand to design and produce limited runs of shoes for different niche target markets at a speed that allows Adidas to set the industry standard.