Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tech-styles: Advances in Mensware

Good evening to what few ardent readers and followers that I have that have stalwartly continued to encourage me to continue my blog and have held my feet to the fire in producing the new material that I’d promised months ago. First and foremost, thank you all for your being insufferable. Without your support, this blog would have faded like jeans in the white-wash. You are all as much a part of making this blog an active medium for men’s fashion discussions as I am, and I appreciate your input from the bottom of my soles.

Without any further puns and analogies to abuse, today’s post takes a progressive look into men’s fashion and considers some of the modern advances in menswear. I’m talking about fashion-tech. In a world inundated with ipods, ipads, it was only a matter of time until ifads came to be. However, the pioneers of fashion-tech were not well reviewed upon their debut. Efforts to capture markets appealing strongly towards sustainability through the use of new supposedly sustainable materials (i.e. bamboo, synthetic fibers, etc.) were sharply scrutinized by environmentalists as being misleading to consumers and in some respects had even greater impacts than conventional products. Additionally, and quite frankly, the designs that were being produced in this first generation of new men’s ware was also by-in-large fairly unimaginative in design, despite the initial creative push.

And while these issues uniform throughout the industry, it was prolific enough that it never really caught on even with the eco-minded.

Enter now the next generation of fashion-tech, the weird and extreme. While Lady GaGa’s meat dress will not soon be forgotten, some of the weird and the wild things designers came up with in this generation could have been promo-models for LED lights and glow sticks.

some more-so than others

As a fair disclaimer, the picture above was taken in 2010 and is merely an example.

While many of these styles were in fact aesthetically pleasing, if not at least amusing, they weren’t practical in any respect. However, in as fashion often does, the industry began to slowly evolve with both advances in technology and to public polls. In 2004, the first generation of solar jackets came out that were compatible with mp3 players. And while the idea was a good-one, few people subscribed to portable digital media with the same fervor that many do today. Note: the iphone wasn’t released until January, 2007. Additionally, as before, the jackets appeared cumbersome and unattractive.

However, as the widespread use of portable digital media began to take hold, and access to information on a real time basis became increasingly commonplace through such media as facebook and twitter, progressive designers again took a stab at trying to do fashion-tech right. This time, they hit the jack-pot. Loe and behold, the Zegna solar jacket. Extremely light weight, durable, surprisingly fashionable, and can extend the battery life of your iphone for hours on end.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better solar jacket that this puppy. But be warned, the price tag on these techno-threads runs around $700-900 depending on the season.

Not all new fashion tech necessarily involves technology in the conventional sense per say however. The sustainability side of fashion as also vastly improved, incorporating recycled synthetic fibers made from disposed of plastics, organic cottons and other natural plant fibers, and even biodegradable attire just in case you get bored of your outfit and have a compost heap out back. However, due to the fact that men’s retail business makes up 20 percent of the market, with eco-fashion constituting only 7 percent (5 percent of which is women’s) companies tend not to focus on eco-menswear (Ecotourre, 2011). A list of a few companies that I personally like which subscribe to these practices is listed below with links to their products.

This is a directory site with multiple links can be found at

With that, I’ll leave you all to cogitate upon whether or not fashion-tech designs are something you’d subscribe to, or just turn you off. Until next time –

Cade signing out…