When we talk to people in the fashion industry (which, us being in New York, is pretty frequently), we often issue a challenge: for all of history, clothing has been about decoration and protection. What can technology do that will either enhance those functions or add another?
Here’s one answer: clothing that can clean the air around its wearers.
Pollution is a big problem in China. a Dutch team at Beijing Design week presented the BB.Suit. The suit is made of two layers of cotton with circuitry sandwiched between them. Aside from location and motion sensors, the clothing includes an air quality monitor and equipment that can ionize the air around you, causing particulates to drop away and leaving you with something you can breathe.
Don’t grab your credit cards yet. The garment is distinctly non-lovely, and the wiring and other electronics render it unwashable. So there’s work to be done. But of the many experiments we’ve heard of. this one seems more promising than most because it solves a genuine problem.
(An earlier iteration of the BB.Suit was apparently shown around this past year’s SXSW as a mobile Wifi hotspot, so it appears to be a shell into which designers can drop various technologies.)