The term “wearable technology” is a running joke in the style world. The jumbled, unsexy term evokes feelings of similarly designed clothing and accessories. Sure, it’s great that this watch can tell me everything about my health, work schedule, and release Spiderman web string to hurl me across city buildings. But when it looks like a computer processor slapped on my wrist, the bulky aesthetic far outweighs its technological advancements. Nice try, Silicon Valley, but we’d rather do style our way.
Fortunately for us, technological powerhouse Google and Americana brand Levi’s wanted to change that sentiment. At South by Southwest this past March, the two brands announced their collaboration on the first piece of wearable technology that could truly be considered wearable. And the jacket finally has a launch date: a limited release September 27, and a wider release (select stores and online) on October 2.
Here’s the deal: Google developed Jacquard, a technology that can be woven into fabrics. Levi’s is the first brand to use the technology, and used its classic commuter trucker jacket to house it all. The jacket uses the fabric and a connected flexible snap tag to connect to your smartphone (the tag slips into a hole in the sleeve). It creates a pseudo touchscreen around the left wrist, where you can “gesture” (tap twice, brush out, brush in) to enable whatever function you assign to each gesture. You can set it to read you directions, pause songs, have texts read, and more.
The best and most important move on this collaboration is that it’s the most stylish wearable technology we’ve seen to date. It’s really a jacket with smart capabilities, rather than technology you can wear. It’s off to a great start, for sure. Sure, it’s a little limiting—you can only set three gestures—and the snap tag in the wrist feels like a security tag left on your jacket. But what’s more important than the jacket itself is what it means for the future of fashion and technology. With this launch, there’s good reason to believe that the future of technology is going to be a stylish one.