Smart devices and other digitally-connected wearables are nothing new; it might have begun over a decade ago with the now-ubiquitous smartphone, but smart technology has since progressed into other wearables, including watches, rings, and all sorts of fabrics, because of course your life can never be connected enough.
The latest to join the wearables world is a connected backpack, courtesy of fashion giant Saint Laurent and Google’s Jacquard textile technology arm. Called the Cit-e, the all-black backpack also happens to be the first such wearable in luxury fashion (because that collaboration between Google and Levi’s last year doesn’t count).
The backpack’s connectedness lies, of course, in its fabric. Intelligent yarns woven into the fabric allow for an interactive touch-sensitive area that allows the wearer to perform certain pre-programmed gestures. The gestures will then be transmitted to the Jacquard Tag, and then onwards to a mobile phone. It will allow the backpack wearer to control music, drop location pins on the go, and take hands-free OOTD photos from a distance away.
That said, while the Saint Laurent Cit-e is arguably more versatile as a smart accessory than a denim jacket that you never take off, it is still not the most convenient wearable on earth—what if I want to change my tunes when don’t have my backpack on? Or what if I left my Levi’s Commuter jacket at home?
This is the ultimate downfall for most clothing- or fashion-based smart wearables. In order for them to be convenient enough to be truly integrated into people’s lifestyles, they have to be just as ubiquitous as the smartphone. If the backpack is tucked away, there is always the jacket—or the sunglasses, or the bracelet, or the shoes. (Or, you know, we could just use our phones directly.)
But whether or not we actually end up with connected wardrobes in 50 years, it is nonetheless exciting to imagine what the future of fashion technology might look like.