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Health and wellness is driving wearable-technology growth in fashion

Wearable technology has come a long way from the original clunky smartwatch, with innovation having taken a giant leap forward in the last five years. 

And health and wellness has become a key driver of this trend, says GlobalData. 

Clothes containing technology is becoming a reality as brands such as Levi Strauss join smaller brands and start-ups in trying to create items consumers will integrate into their lives.

Michelle Russell, apparel correspondent at GlobalData, says wearable technology as a category is starting to be taken a lot more seriously in fashion, particularly given the phenomenal growth of athleisure, which has almost created a nice segue for firms looking to enter the category with a focus on health and wellness.

The world’s biggest tech conference, CES 2020, opened in Las Vegas last week, showcasing some of the latest innovations in this area.

The Skiin Connected Health & Wellness System by Myant allows the continuous monitoring of health and wellness measures – such as heart rate, stress, temperature, activity and sleep stage, and provides advice on how to improve. Users can also share this information with family, friends and healthcare providers.

Also on show at CES 2020, the e-skin Sleep & Lounge apparel by Xenoma is designed for monitoring the health of elderly people, analysing the wearer’s sleep condition. The technology also enables everyday monitoring of users’ behaviour and fall detection.

Meanwhile, FootWare, developed by TacSense, claims to be the world’s first-ever health-tracking smart shoe that is able to measure heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, emotion, stress level, and moving pattern.

“In a decade it may well become the norm for our everyday jackets or pullovers to monitor our health, but for that to happen, companies need to get consumers properly on board through involvement and addressing poor understanding,” says Russell. “Increased investment is also key to the category’s development.

“Wearable technology in fashion is certainly heading in the right direction but it seems there is still some way to go before it becomes totally accessible. It is still a niche product and cost could be a major factor for consumers. Sustainability will also be key.”

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