Wear It’s At: 7 Futuristic Developments in Fashion + Clothes

Don’t think technology has an effect on what you wear? It turns out that our outfits, the way we shop for clothes, and even the way we wear our clothes have all been altered by the constant onward march of technology. These concepts consist of the real and the anticipated – all designed to change and enhance the way we wear our threads.

For ladies, a night on the town in that cute little black dress means either carrying a purse (not always safe) or leaving the cell phone at home (also not so safe). But the M-Dress concept from CuteCircuit actually integrates the phone into the dress. The wearer is free to enjoy her evening knowing that help or a ride is just a phone call away. She’d better have a very good friend in mind, though: the conceptual dress can only be programmed with one phone number.

The monitoring equipment in hospitals is necessary, but often keeps patients bedridden who might otherwise be at least partially ambulatory. What if patients could wander to their hearts’ content and still remain hooked up to the important monitors? A “smart shirt” under development at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid would do just that, relaying information about patients to a control center manned by nurses and doctors. The shirt would also come with a GPS and an accelerometer, allowing hospital staff to both find a wandering patient and see with a glance at a monitor whether she is standing, walking or lying down.

This dress is able to change its shape as quickly as its wearer changes her mind. The Mechapolypse dress is controlled by brain waves which are detected and amplified by the matching hat. With little more than a few moments of intense concentration, the wearer can completely change the look and shape of her outfit.

It isn’t enough to just have and wear a cool shirt. In today’s high-tech world, shouldn’t your clothing actually do something? This one from designer Marc Stromberg entertains its wearer by playing a weird augmented reality game of rock, paper, scissors. The wearer just stands in front of a webcam while wearing the shirt, points his browser at the game’s webpage, and gets ready to witness a freaky hand bursting from his chest.

Guys who frequently forget to take care of themselves might find these whitey tighties very handy dandy. They are fitted with flexible biosensors which would keep track of the user’s stress levels, alcohol consumption, chemical levels and other matters of well-being. The waistband of underwear seems to be the ideal place to put these sensors since it is a part of the clothing that is right up against the skin all day. The wearer’s sweat carries all kinds of health information which can be analyzed daily to tell the wearer what he needs to change in order to stay healthy.

No matter what your body shape is, shopping for clothes can be a harrowing experience. Different companies often size garments differently, and clothes sometimes just don’t fit like you expect them to. The virtual dressing room concept from a company called FaceCake could soften the experience by letting you do it from the comfort of your living room. Based around a Microsoft Kinect platform, the concept allows shoppers to select and “try on” items based on the shopper’s individual measurements and body shape.

Always wondering whether your outfit is in fashion or not? The “like counters” on the hangers at Brazilian clothing store C&A let shoppers weigh in on their favorite garments via Facebook. For every “like” received by a particular piece of clothing, the screen on that item is updated in real time with the number of people who “like” that garment. Even if you can’t take a fashion-savvy friend along on a shopping trip, at least you’ll have the opinions of hundreds of strangers to count on.