Fabled fashion brand Ralph Lauren is ready to join the new wearables trend for the first time with a revolutionary new t-shirt that reads heart rate, breathing and stress levels.
Starting at the US Open, ball boys will trial the technology that comes in the form of a silver-coated thread woven into the polo shirt that has the ability to measure performance.
“We want to control the technology and make it applicable to our life in a way that is refined and comfortable,” executive VP David Lauren told the New York Times. “Nothing clunky that you have to strap on. You’re just putting on a shirt.”
Ralph Lauren doesn’t plan to stop there and the company is planning to infuse the technology into classic dress shirts at the start of next year with no indication yet as to how much more customers will have to pay for the technology.
“So many people think of Ralph Lauren as a preppy New England brand, but we love playing with the stereotype,” Lauren said. “We’re not all mahogany and vintage chandeliers.”
The shirt itself has been created in collaboration with OM, a Canadian-company known for its biometric smartwear, and Lauren is confident that it won’t be a bust like the time the company tried and failed to successfully sell clothing with built-in MP3 players.
Analysts think that Ralph Lauren is on the right path in so much as it is trying to implement wearable technology that looks good whilst at the same time being unobtrusive.
“The things that are on your skin need to feel empathetic and beautiful. They need to be nice to the touch and not hang on your clothes,” said Robert Scoble.
It’s unclear how Ralph Lauren plans to use the technology in dress shirts and what advantages they might bring to Lauren’s “preppy New England” clientele with it unknown whether the option to turn off chandelier lighting will be included.