Haute couture designers often surprise the world by creating unusual apparel. This time, Ralph Lauren collaborated with biotech firm OMSignal to develop a compression garment that collects biometric data and sends it to smartphones and tablets.
The Polo Tech shirt developed by the two companies will make its debut at the U.S. Open, but contrary to people’s expectations, it won’t be worn by the tennis players. Instead, the ball boys at the tournament will show the world how biometric data is collected with the help of a smart sensor.
OmSignal co-founder and CEO Stephane Marceau explained how the collaboration with Ralph Lauren started on the right foot from the very first meeting: “From the first meeting, we realized David [Lauren] and the team had a very clear point of view on wearable. They were immersed in it, they were very aware of what was going on.”
Marceau also explained that “The shirt is the sensor. We capture what we call the ‘ABC’ of health and wellness. A is for activity, movement…B is for breathing, C is for Cardiac”
David Lauren is aware that the Polo Tech shirt is the first of its kind in the fashion industry, and is quite enthusiastic about that: “Small niche brands have been attempting [smart clothing]. This is definitely the most forward, most cutting edge of all of them, for what we can tell, and merging it with our brand, the sophistication of our fabrics, the lifestyle philosophy is equally important.”
Lauren also explained that fashion should align to modern times, and that wearable technology plays a great role in that: “Our goal is to create and reflect the ultimate lifestyle, and we believe that a healthy and active life is an essential part of that. Ralph Lauren is excited to help lead the industry in wearable technology in this ever-evolving, modern world.”
In the not so distant future, this technology will make its way into Polo shirts, suits, and baby clothes. Lauren pointed out that “This fabric, this material can be used to help you live a better life at any age.”
As clothes finally gain some additional functionality, Lauren admits that “Our goal is to recognize the fact that this market is wanting a life that not only looks better, but actually feels better and is a healthier life.”
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