Staying connected with tech, but not distracted — Levi’s has unveiled a new-and-improved wearable tech collection.
Just last week, Amazon dipped into the wearables market, and the smart clothing market is poised to surpass a targeted revenue of $4 billion by 2024, having garnered revenue of $150 million in 2016, according to recent data from MarketWatch.
Levi’s began Project Jacquard in 2016, partnering with Google to develop a platform where woven conductive fibers could upgrade its traditional denim jacket, later adding the first Jacquard App in late 2017.
Levi’s leverages its industrial intelligence and material expertise to help weave Google’s technical innovation into the conventional denim mill and garment manufacturing supply chain. But the key was to “make it relevant for the friends and fans of our brand,” as Paul Dillinger, vice president of Global Product Innovation at Levi Strauss & Co., told WWD.
Making it relevant means a modern-use case for its customers without compromising on the high-quality, comfortable and durable clothes “that make our consumers look and feel their best,” in the words of Dillinger.
The latest collaboration is achieved by studying Levi’s past archive of products, documents and information specific to the Google collaboration. From there, Dillinger and team were able to draw distinctions in the latest iteration — and “quietly integrate a versatile and evolving digital platform into some of our most classic denim styles,” using the Jacquard system — “rather than imposing a gadget onto a garment.”
Nearly invisible, the result is a woven touch interface system made in collaboration with Google that is useful without being so obvious, so that the San Francisco-based heritage brand maintains its own aesthetics while continuing to explore technology-enabled garments.
An important goal was for the Levi’s consumer to “stay connected without being distracted,” according to Dillinger.
“We all use smartphones differently — so it was important to develop a versatile portfolio of ‘abilities’ that could be customized and easily reconfigured based on personal preference,” said Dillinger, citing a “Find My Phone” function or the ability to activate “Always Together” to get an alert when either phone or jacket is left behind.
Users can also pre-program an address in “Navigation,” toggle between media features and even enable the “Camera” function to take selfies from a distance with just a tap of the wrist.
The collection is offered in both men’s and women’s classic trucker and sherpa trucker styles. As for what’s next, Dillinger said to expect new, useful abilities every few months — “so the jacket keeps getting better, season after season.”
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