The New Wardrobe: Smart Clothing and the Reinvention of Daily Life

An imminent innovation that promises to revolutionize our wardrobe, from adaptive 3D printed outfits to self-charging garments. The future of fashion: Smart Clothing

The New Wardrobe: Smart Clothing and the Reinvention of Daily Life
Person picking a design a 3D printed outfit from an augmented reality data terminal - Powered by MidJourney AI

In the wake of Apple's recent unveiling of the new Apple Vision Pro, the tech world is abuzz with anticipation. Yet, there's another innovation on the horizon that promises to revolutionize our daily lives: Smart Clothing.

You may remember Marty McFly's clothing in Back to the Future II. Self-drying self-adjusting jackets, auto-lacing shoes, and similar technological wonders.

While all this may sound like science-fiction, our future could hold more even more amazing innovation. BMW demonstrated the ability to change a car's paint-job with an app. Now, what if you had the power to change your clothes the same way?

Imagine clothes that you could 3D print to your precise measurements. No more ill-fitting clothes, or prom-dresses that just don't fit anymore. What if you could have clothes that change as your weight changes? What if you had outfits that adapt their color and style based on your needs? Whether you need sportswear for jogging or a tuxedo for a formal event, your clothes would always fit.

While this might sound like science fiction, we're closer to this reality than you might think. By leveraging 3D printers, we may soon go from prompt-to-clothing apparel.

Now, several companies are already developing materials that can change their properties. Based on user input or environmental conditions, they adapt to your needs. They are still in the early stages. But with these 'programmable' fabrics, we could pave the way for the print-on-demand clothing. All you need to do? Just ask. "Siri, I need a new shirt"

Now, let's delve into some of the existing technologies in the realm of Smart Clothing.

The Nadi X Yoga Pants integrate with your iPhone. They provide haptic feedback that guides you to perfect your yoga poses.

UA Recover Clothing harnesses your body heat to charge itself. For now they use it to provide warmth via infra-red light, but this opens up enormous potential. Self-charging clothing could power any number of smart devices.

Sensoria socks can track how you walk, how fast you run, how high you can jump. Think of all the problems that could come from improper weight distribution on your feet. All that is a thing of the past.

Athos offers biometric clothing. It is capable of measuring how hard your muscles are working.

We even have smart clothing in the works, that can do real-time sweat-analysis. Their sweat sensors allow continuous, real-time, noninvasive detection of your health levels. You don't have to visit the doctor anymore all the time to find out how fit you are. Your clothes would tell you.

Now, these smart garments target specific niches, but the potential for wider application is vast. As the technology evolves, smart clothing could become as prevalent as smartphones.

But there's a matter of practicality of such clothing: 'How do we clean these smart clothes?' There is also the question of durability and longevity. Traditional textiles can withstand years of use and wash cycles. Will smart clothing be able to hold up under similar conditions?

Rather than focusing on washing and durability, we could take a more revoluntionary approach. What if we could recycle them on a daily basis? We could supply households with a material harvester. You finished wearing your clothes, you throw them in the harvester. It recycles the material and next time you need clothes, you just print them from the app. This approach could have profound implications for our environment. No more chemicals in the ground water. No more wasting drinking water on washing textile. We could regain entire regions of farmland used to produce fabric for our clothes.

Assuming we venture down the path of 3D printing, how would this transform the fashion and textile industries?

The textile industry would pivot towards innovation in material technology. Their primary concern would be the reliability of textile components post 3D printing. The industry might evolve to become 'Clothing Tech'. They would shift from selling clothes to selling 3D printers and peripherals for clothes. They could host app-stores, where designers can upload their designs. A similar approach is already used in video-games such. Popular titles such as DotA 2 or CS:GO, allow gamers to buy 'skins' for their characters. They give the player the option to customize their in-game avatar as they see fit. The Metaverse is proposing a similar approach. In the case of Meta, they propose it through Virtual Reality.

Some questions still remain open, in this evolving landscape.

What about clothing ownership? If we're purchasing 'skins' or designs for our clothes rather than the physical product, what does ownership mean? If AI we introduce AI to this field, are we going to lose the human touch? Will artistry and craftsmanship become obsolete?

And if all this is possible. Can we soon generate living rooms and homes like we prompt images today?