Luxurious brand Ralph Lauren joins Tory Burch in venturing into the world of wearable tech fashion. This week, the fashion brand debuted their first smart garment in Polo’s lineup during the 2014 US Open Tournament.
The technology behind the shirt is a prototype developed for the tennis tournament by Canadian company OMsignal. The snug, black compression shirt monitors and gathers detailed information about the wearer’s heart rate, breathing, activity, and so on directly to a smartphone or tablet.
The shirt has a stretchy band, under the pectorals, that contains conductive threads that contact the skin. A small module that weighs less than 1.5 ounces, which Ralph Lauren calls the “Black Box,” receives heart-rate and breathing data from those threads and relays it to a Bluetooth-connected iPhone or iPad. During the tournament, they were worn by the ball feeders to track their activities.
“A lot will come in the next few months,” said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s Executive Vice President of Global Advertising and Marketing in a recent interview. “We are a lifestyle brand, a major luxury fashion brand. I want to be able to gather this (biometric) information in a boardroom or from a baby in a crib. We’ll find new needs, and we’re just at the beginning.”
Before you open a new tab to purchase the “smart shirt,” warning that they will not be available for sale until 2015.