Here’s why you’ll be wearing ‘smart’ workout clothes soon
Sourced through Scoop.it from: fortune.com
Other brands besides Ralph Lauren’s Polo, are also stepping into the space, too, says Stéphane Marceau, CEO of OMsignal. Co-founder of the Montreal-based maker of smart garments that partnered with Ralph Lauren on the PoloTech shirt, Marceau believes that smart athletic apparel is poised to break out, given the interest he’s seen from big brands. Physiclo’s debut campaign on a crowdfunding site exceeded its original goal and has over 800 people signed up to receive the garments as soon as they are shipped in November.
Smart athletic apparel is lapping at the edge of a growing trend in athleisure where yoga pants and hoodies are elevated by luxury brands and fabrics. According to the NPD Group, a market research firm, sales in the sector reached $35 billion last year, representing about 17% of the entire U.S. clothing market. Function over form
Whether these wearables will catch on — including with women who have generally not warmed to the Apple watch — depends on their utility, rather than fashion, many say. “If a brand is able to produce an item that creates everyday efficiencies or solves a problem in a way that no other device can, we will get on board in droves,” says Katherine Power, cofounder and CEO of Clique, a marketing company. Rather than think about the capabilities of a dress, she posits, smart apparel makers need to start with improving a daily function through technology and then figure out how that technology can be worn in a unique and safe way. That’s the goal at Physiclo, co-founder Frank Yao tells Fortune. Developing the sleek, black shorts and leggings took two years of trial and error, he says, even though weighted resistance workout wear has been on the market for a while. The challenge was to create a fabric with better anatomic fixation points. In other words, bands that didn’t stretch and fall down while you exercised. And ones that were capable of compressing the time spent exercising from 30 down to 20 minutes. Eventually, says Yao, the company plans to incorporate technology that will stimulate muscles and increase the efficiency of a workout. “We definitely don’t want to be seen as a late night infomercial [product],” Yao maintains, while pointing out that he and cofounder Keeth Smart, a former Olympic athlete, understand the value of collecting workout data while enhancing exercise.