August 23, 2007 An innovative new jacket design from Zegna Sport will allow wearers to simultaneously listen to their iPod and talk on their cell phone utilizing a controller embedded in the jacket sleeve. The Bluetooth iJacket has been made using smart fabric from the Eleksen Group , makers of touch-sensitive smart fabrics for clothing, electronics and accessories.
Dubbed “communication clothing”, the garment enjoys dual electronic functionality via Eleksen’s 100 per cent fabric ElekTex touchpad which is not only lightweight but waterproof too. Whilst the sleeve contains a device to control the cell phone and iPod, the collar has its own purpose too - a bluetooth interface and microphone are embedded to allow the wearer to dial and talk on their phone.
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If you’re wondering how to hear your caller with your iPod blasting then the iJacket has that covered. As a call is received the music volume automatically drops to make the wearer aware of the call and the sleeve control panel switches to phone control mode. The smart fabric is a micro-nylon which has a smooth exterior and is thermally taped to ensure that all of the inner workings of the jacket are secure and protected from water damage, even during washing.
The iJacket design is stylish and sophisticated with a slightly sport edge. Suitable to wear to the office or on the weekend, it would not look out of place on the runways at New York Fashion Week. The up-market design is accompanied by an up-market price tag with prices starting from $US1700. Robin Shephard, CEO of Eleksen comments: “Zegna’s beautiful clothing designs together with our innovative sensor technology create a desirable line of intelligent clothing that is truly pioneering in the apparel market.”
The Zegna iJacket is not the first smart fabric garment specifically for iPods. Kenpo released a similar product in 2006 however it does not have the cell phone functionality and the styles are more casual in their design. Smart fabrics have been making a splash with all kinds of applications in the world of fashion. One smart fabric has achieved a solution to rapidly changing weather conditions with the ability to adapt to temperature so the wearer does not get hot or cold, another has incorporated flexible display screens and there are even clothes in development that will make biochemical medical observations whilst being worn.