Techwear goes beyond smartwatches and other Bluetooth enabled devices. Adaptive clothing is one part of the techwear trend that ups the inclusivity.
While Edgy Labs has previously covered how to 3D print clothing, this is something new.
This new line of adaptive clothing aims to make clothes more accessible. Not just for those who want to be faster at getting ready in the morning, but for people with disabilities, too.
This may also have implications for the future of techwear.
Inclusive Adaptive Clothing for All People
Tommy Hilfiger is a fashion designer known best for his lifestyle brand of the same name. The style of the clothes can be described as “classic American”. It includes clothes as well as accessories and, as of this year, adaptive clothing.
This kind of techwear might be better labeled as inclusive-wear. More people can wear this line thanks to touches like magnetic buttons. They also open in various locations to make putting on the garments easier.
As you can see from the photo above, the Hilfiger brand intends for more people to be able to wear this line of clothing. But it maintains the same branding as other lines.
Why make these changes?
Think about the process of getting dressed in the morning: putting on pants, a shirt, etc. You can see how much you need to use fingers and fine motor skills for this process.
If you have a physical disability, small things like getting ready in the morning can be stressful.
This new line of adaptive clothing tackles that issue, making more accessible clothing.
“Inclusivity and the democratization of fashion have always been at the core of our brand’s DNA. Tommy Adaptive continues to build on that vision, empowering people to express themselves though fashion,” says Tommy.
But, how is Tommy making clothing easier to wear?
The most obvious example is modified enclosures.
As pictured below, Tommy Adaptive will feature pants that use velcro enclosures. For those that use wheelchairs, the enclosures will be placed to the side to make the enclosure more accessible and to reduce the stress placed on a normal enclosure by sitting.
Tommy Adaptive calls this “Double Plackets for Seated Wear,” and it’s just one of the simple yet innovative styles of clothing in the Adaptive portfolio.
Techwear: An Expanding Umbrella Term in Fashion
3D printed clothing is somewhere on the techwear spectrum. So is this smart bra that monitors cardiac activity using sensors.
Techwear usually involves specific styles and materials as well as utility focused features. Just think of gear people use to go hiking or military uniforms. Flight jumpsuits are also a great example.
You often have many pockets and the clothing is comfortable.
Sometimes, technology is even incorporated into the product like with smartwatches.
This video somewhat lampoons the techwear movement but also illustrates its main focus: aesthetics. This is the problem with technology-focused clothing movements.
Tommy Hilfiger’s adaptive clothing line might not be considered techwear because it is “low tech”. But it increases comfort, accessibility, and style just like techwear.
Adaptive clothing can help many people thanks to its increased accessibility. But it also comes at a specific price point just like techwear, decreasing the accessibility.
Still, the move into more mainstream adaptive clothing and techwear is not a bad one.
Read More: Six Ways Technology Closes the Ableism gap
Innovations like these enable people to be more vigilant and, on occasion, look fly as heck. Perhaps techwear and adaptive clothing will merge, providing more inclusivity in aesthetics focused fashion.