It should be noted that Google has figured out a way to create the high-tech fabric in existing looms, arguably conquering half the production battle. It certainly leaves things open for further development.
“One of the genius components of this technology is that Google worked diligently to engineer it so that it could be worked into the existing supply chain. This is not an invented supply chain, this is the apparel supply chain,” Dillinger told BoF, also saying:
“When everything can do something, there’s no one thing that has to do everything. What if everything in your life could do important things? That’s where we see the potential. It crystallizes why we got excited about this—the idea that a garment can suddenly do more than it has ever done before. It’s important to introduce people to the idea of a really engaging, delightful experience.”
That last line is particularly interesting, as it assumes that fashion isn’t already an engaging experience. The act of dressing oneself—even for those who don’t “follow” fashion—is an inherently personal one.
Think of what people do with technology. We curate our social media profiles to project a view of ourselves we want people to see. We cover our phones in cases, we change the backgrounds on our screens, and plaster our laptops with stickers. We want to dress our tech items the way we dress ourselves. Many innovators and tech people would do well to consider how people use clothing to craft their identities, how clothes make us feel, and the role fashion plays in society.
As it stands, the idea of technology being woven into fabric is still an impressive one. But Google (much like Apple, which partnered with Hermès to make high-fashion bands for its watches), is still thinking in terms of making tech items fashionable. Perhaps a middle ground for both industries would be to figure out ways to make fashionable “it” items technologically advanced.