Smart Wearables - Challenges for producers and consumers

The increasing fusion of technology and fashion prompts new questions.

Wearables and smart clothing should ideally ease the everyday life. However, the increasing fusion of technology and fashion is connected with new practical questions. How can the users wash their Wearables? Especially they’re becoming an integrated part of the clothing? Who can the wearers contact in case of a needed maintenance or reparation? And where can they dispose them in an eco-friendly way? Do the clothing pieces belong to the e-waste or in the clothing drive? 

Sustainability as an increasing challenge

Questions and challenges, which need to be addressed by the industry in the near future, since their development is progressing quickly: according to a prognosis by the textile and fashion confederation up to 18 million smart wearables will be sold yearly, until 2021.  Considering, more and more components are being processed and the recycling is even more complicated. In connection with Sustainability the repair of these wearables will be of crucial importance. 

Removable wearables

The cleaning of smart clothing also appears to be difficult and for some manufacturers it’s even today a barely solvable problem. Since smart clothing contains metal and conducting material it won’t survive many wash cycles. Currently, removables wearables seems to be the best solution for this.

Sensor system “Spur” by Julia Danckwerth

A possible step into this directing is Julia Danckwerth making, who’s been awarded with the Berlin-based award „Wearable IT/Fashion Tech.

She provides a new feeling of security for people who suffer from dementia and their relative with her sensor system called “Spur”. The systems contain five modules, is attached on the inside of the clothing and has the following functions:

  • The wearer can be located through a GPS-Signal
  • In an emergency a signal will be send
  • The sensors are connected with the relatives via Bluetooth
  • The system recognises when the wearer falls
  • The sensors recognise if the stove has been left on

The particular about these modules: they are not bounded to one or more special pieces of clothing or integrated into the textiles, but they can simply be removed and then again attached to different clothing as soon as the next laundry day is around the corner. For this kind of invention and progress, which will secure the sustainability of such new products, a close relationship between the technic and fashion industry is crucial.

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