Categories
Editor's pick product technology

Ralph Lauren introduces heat-conducting smart jacket for USA Olympics team

Ralph Lauren has launched a smart jacket that will allow the USA Olympics team to keep warm at this year’s Winter games, taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea.

As part of the team’s official uniform, which the brand has been designing for six years, a parka and a bomber jacket each use heat-conducting ink that generates warmth similar to an electric blanket.

“We’re looking back and celebrating what’s iconic and symbolic of America, and merging that with where we’re headed,” says David Lauren, the brand’s chief innovation officer. The uniform, which includes classics of American fashion such as jeans and thick suede gloves, nod to different American frontiers, he adds. “The frontiers of the 1800s and 1900s, and then the frontier of today, which is technology.”

Lauren explains that the design’s top priority was to allow for flexibility: while temperatures in South Korea can reach below zero in the winter, athletes needed to feel equally comfortable wearing the jacket while waiting at the backstage area ahead of the Opening Ceremony. After investigating suitable fabrics, the brand landed on technology.

 

Ralph Lauren's Heated Parka, tech-enabled textiles
Ralph Lauren’s Heated Parka

The garment’s heat is achieved through a special type of carbon and silver ink bonded to the jacket lining, which in keeping with the brand’s roots, were sewn in the shape of an American flag.

The ink connects to a battery pack sewn into the garment, which when fully charged can heat the jacket for up to 11 hours. Athletes can then adjust the temperature up or down via an app.

To develop the jacket, the RL innovation team worked with several US-based  partners such as engineers at Delaware-based tech giant DuPont, who had previously developed heated garments which were deemed to heavy for everyday wear. The brand also worked with Butler Technologies, a high-tech precision screen-printer based in Pittsburgh; apparel manufacturer 99Degrees, who helped bond the heater to the jacket’s lining; Key Tech, a high-tech design firm that helped design the battery packs with user experience in mind; and Principled Design, who designed the connectors that attach the battery pack to the heater in a streamlined way.

A sketch of Ralph Lauren's Olympics opening ceremony outfit connected tech, textiles
A sketch of Ralph Lauren’s Olympics opening ceremony outfit

Lauren explains that the jacket is an experiment towards launching a consumer-facing connected product this year: “Our hope is that we’ll learn enough that we’ll be able to go into production with a different, limited edition jacket for this fall.”

For years, the brand has been experimenting with technology and how it can improve performance when embedded in textiles. In 2015, it launched the PoloTech smart shirt, which captures biometric information and transmits it to an accompanying app, while for the 2016 Summer Olympics, it created a blazer with electroluminescent panels for torch-bearer Michael Phelps.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile product social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Farfetch photography, questioning Everlane’s transparency, Amazon as the largest apparel seller

Farfetch digital shoot listings fashion retail technology
Farfetch

The Wall Street Journal has a deep-dive story on just what it takes to produce all the imagery for Farfetch’s listed boutiques. Every weekday, it posts an average of more than 1,000 new listings, each with at least five different photographs. Alongside that, perhaps appropriately, comes a new set of stats about Amazon, proving the fact it’s expected to surpass Macy’s to become the biggest apparel seller in the US next year.

Sustainability is also top of mind within the industry of late, with lots of ongoing thoughts around Everlane’s transparency claims and Patagonia’s slow fashion aims. Also worth reading this week are various Snapchat campaigns, not to mention some insights on the pros and cons of retail technology. Don’t forget to also sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass before the early bird rate ends on Oct 31.


TOP STORIES
  • Where luxury fashion is a high-speed, high-volume business – on site with the photography crew at Farfetch [WSJ]
  • Radical transparency: Are H&M and Zara actually more transparent than Everlane? [The Fashion Law]
  • Amazon is expected to surpass Macy’s to become the biggest apparel seller in the US next year [Business Insider]
  • Vine video-sharing app to be shut down by Twitter [The Guardian]
  • Alibaba takes Singles’ Day to global buyers, sellers [China Daily]

BUSINESS
  • Sales surge at Kering’s Gucci, slip at sister brand [Yahoo]
  • American innovation: 5 questions with Shinola CMO Bridget Russo [BrandChannel]
  • How Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney plans to grow the brand into the next Nike [Fashionista]
  • In an age of fast fashion, Patagonia is going slow [Yahoo]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Following the screenshots: How Topshop is hacking Snapchat [Digiday]
  • Everlane’s social strategy: drive community engagement, not sales [Glossy]
  • Why Snapchat is winning out over Pinterest for River Island [The Drum]
  • H&M and Kenzo leverage iOS iMessage integration [Glossy]

ADVERTISING
  • REI’s ‘#OptOutside’ returns, and other brands have joined to help make it a new American tradition [Creativity]
  • Target channels Hamilton and The Nutcracker for holiday campaign aimed at Hispanic shoppers [AdWeek]

RETAIL
  • How AI is helping retailers [Venture Beat]
  • When it comes to retail technology, the industry is ‘just getting started’ [NRF]
  • Retail websites pile on the ad tech, but may be repeating publishers’ mistakes [AdAge]
  • Understanding China’s e-commerce and Internet sectors: A guide for global retailers [FBIC]
  • Why Alibaba just staged an 8-hour fashion show [Fortune]

TECHNOLOGY
  • This connected jacket provides VIP access to exclusive NYC experiences, demos future of the Internet of Things [Forbes]
  • The gift and the curse of 3D printing and the legislation we can expect [The Fashion Law]
  • You can now get styled by a fashion-savvy algorithm [Quartz]
  • Google Voice Search comparison-shops on mobile, creating audio ad opportunity [MediaPost]

START-UPS
  • How the Techstars + Target accelerator transformed retail start-up Blueprint Registry [Retail Dive]
  • Is Silicon Valley taking menswear more seriously? [Fast Company]
  • At ThirdLove, just one area of innovation isn’t enough [Medium]

UPCOMING EVENTS