Photo source from HiConsumption
Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket embedded with Google’s ‘Jacquard’ technology aims to bring practical purpose to wearables. BoF sat down with executives from Levi’s and Google to walk through the evolution of the product and gauge its market potential.
AUSTIN, United States — “Rejections.” That’s what Google first experienced when it broached the topic of “wearable tech” with high-ranking members of the fashion industry. “When we started talking to various brands and corporations, we received rejections of technology as something foreign,” Google’s Ivan Poupyrev recently explained. “We had to speak the language in order to close the gap, to reduce this skepticism. Textile is the only way to do it.”
The realisation that the future of wearable tech in fashion goods was going to be more about smart textiles than gadgets, like Google Glass or the Apple Watch, was the impetus for the Silicon Valley giant’s Project Jacquard initiative, borne out of its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. According to Google, “Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms. Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces.” Its first consumer product, a trucker jacket developed in partnership with Levi’s, is set to arrive in stores in September 2017 after a several-months delay.
At 2017’s South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, Poupyrev, who leads Jacquard within Google’s ATAP Group, and Paul Dillinger, Levi’s head of global product innovation, kicked off what is likely to be a months-long roadshow promoting the $350 machine-washable denim jacket, which allows a wearer to control a mobile device through a patch of fabric on the left-hand sleeve cuff. A dongle, which Google and Levi’s have dubbed the “Jacquard Tag,” is hooked into the sleeve, providing connectivity between the sleeve and the device.
Through an interactive haptic motor and LED lights, the wearer can receive alerts — such as an important phone call — and do things like pause a song, check the weather or plan a commute. “I want to be able to sit down to dinner and not have to look at my phone,” said Dillinger. “There’s a rich set of input and output engagements.”
But are those inputs and outputs enough to make “Levi’s® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket with Jacquard™ by Google” — as the product is officially named — popular with real consumers? BoF sat down with Poupyrev and Dillinger to walk through the evolution of the product and gauge its market potential.
Read the full article on Business of Fashion
Shop Levi's Commuter Trucker: http://www.levi.com/US/en_US/mens-clothing-jackets/p/249130000?ab=Commuter_LP_Mens_Trucker_030717