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Why your clothes need a mobile upgrade

Mike Elgan | April 15, 2013
The clothing most of us wear hasn't changed to keep up with mobile technology. But there are apparel makers that are rising to the challenge.

Wearable computing will soon go mainstream thanks to Google Glass and the rumored Apple iWatch.

But I've got news for you: Wearable computing is already here. We carry powerful smartphones and accessories in our pockets and on our person everywhere we go. We "wear" them in our clothes.

ScottEVest's Fleece 7.0, shown in a faux "X-ray view" makes it looks like you're carrying nothing, when you've really got everything.

Although we carry the gadgets of 2013, our clothes are designed for the gadgets of 1913. For example, that tiny pocket in jeans above the right front pocket? That's for a pocketwatch.

It's time to upgrade our clothes.

Why we need mobile-aware clothing

We live in a mobile world now. We carry tablets, mobile phones and a universe of accessories go to with them -- or, we would if we could.

Yet the clothing most of us wear hasn't changed to keep up with the new reality. Mobile tech isn't mobile if we can't carry it.

Buildings have been upgraded with Wi-Fi and more outlets. A world of cases, bags, backpacks, briefcases and purses have emerged to accommodate the new mobile reality.

But clothing isn't keeping up.

Pockets need to be redesigned. They need to be sized and shaped and placed for today's huge smartphones and tablets and the accessories we carry for them. We need more pockets for making gadgets more accessible in all situations -- but not to thieves.

Clothes should be designed to enable the easiest and safest use of our touch-screen devices.

We need clothes that help us protect our expensive gadgets from damage, loss or theft.

Clothes can even help us get and stay powered up and connected and do other things that enhance mobile computing.

Clothing that does some or all of this will become much more common over the next few years. But I need it now, and so do you.

Wardrobe malpractice

After traveling and living as a digital nomad in Greece, Turkey, Kenya and Spain for the past nine months, I've come to the conclusion that my clothes are not up to the task.

I've worked in planes, trains, cars and boats; hotels, motels, hostels, apartments; coffee shops, restaurants; indoors, outdoors; day and night; rain or shine.

I've been both nearly stolen from and actually stolen from. I've carried awkward backpacks, left my tablet or keyboard behind when I really could have used it and wasted all kinds of time because I couldn't bring the stuff I needed. And all because of my clothes.

While enjoying the Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain, last month, for example, I asked my wife to hold my iPhone while I captured some video. She put it in a zipped compartment in her purse. But a pick-pocket unzipped the purse and stole the phone without either of us knowing.

 

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