If you read the fine print, your smartphone needs to stay in your pocket then entire time your riding an e-scooter, e-bike or pretty much e-anything. So what happens if you need to text, get directions or just skip past that song that was so last week? Levi’s has the answer with this Bluetooth connected jeans jacket.
True, clothing wearables have become a mainstay in the sport world, with everything from yoga pants and cycling shirts to bras (yes) and socks. But, how many fashion companies are highlighting the fashion of a garment on an equal footing as the tech? Sure, you can have a sleek looking running top. Think about it though: you lead with the techno aspect.
No Shortage of Style
Levi’s is a fashion company so you would hope the Commuter wouldn’t be an embarrassing ugly duckling jammed into the family portrait. This jean jacket kills it with style. If you didn’t know where to find the “tell” (it’s on the left cuff), you’d have no idea this cool customer was wired for speed.
The Commuter places mission control in a snap tag that resembles a snapping button on a cuff. Through visual and tactile feedback, you can take a call, respond to a text, access your tunes and get directions when you’re lost. A recent update brought a new useful feature, the jacket introduced a very useful new function for us forgetful types. If you’ve gone too far away from your phone, you’ll receive an alert. The removable tag charges via USB and syncs up with the downloadable Jacquard app, where you can set up preferences for notifications to your liking. You’ll also need a Google account to get up and running.
Designed for those traveling by scooter or cycle, the Commuter also incorporates safety features such as articulated shoulders, reflectors and a lower hem to cover your backside while you ride.
Made Possible By Google (and) IDEO
Jacquard by Google is a platform developed by Google to weave conductive yarn into fabric on conventional looms, creating clothing capable of touch and gesture interactivity. Since I was wondering about the significance of naming the technology Jacquard, I thought you might be too. The Jacquard loom was invented in France in 1804 and used punch cards to automate weaving complex patterns into fabric.
Another player deserves a shout out for the Commuter becoming a reality, but frequently gets left out of the conversation. And that’s IDEO, the renowned innovation and design company located in Palo Alto. They helped with the industrial design of the snap tag electronics, interactive vocabulary of gestures, and conceptual model of the accompanying smartphone app.
Where the Commuter differs greatly from its fashion only counterpoint is in its care. The jacket can only retain its smart functionality for up to 10 washes, and remember to remove the snap tag when you do! In a normal jean jacket you don’t have to give much thought to splashing drinks and ricocheting foods. With the Commuter, you have to strategize when and where you’re going to wear it.
At $350 the Commuter costs a good chunk of change, but when I landed on the Levi’s website they were offering a 30% discount coupon for purchases over $150.