Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

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In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Imagine your everyday clothes had built-in human sensors that monitored vital signs and activity levels, played your favorite song and kept you connected. Dr Sabine Seymour, Director of Parsons’ Fashionable Technology Lab and Chair at Computational Fashion, started conceptualizing this vision long ago. Working at the intersection of fashion, design, branding, and technology, her mission is “to humanize technology, to be free from having to be at a desk and plugged in, to have an intuitive interface, to make technology seamless, personal, and to make technology beautiful.” The upshot is SoftSpot, the first truly seamless wearable technology, a soft, unobtrusive fabric patch that can be added to garments in manufacturing.

SoftSpot is the product of Seymour’s latest start-up, Moonlab, which she describes as “a hybrid company between technology, science, the body, and textiles/fashion, focusing initially on women.” Seymour reasons, “[Women] are making the purchasing decisions, we love clothes, we take care of our bodies, we tend to be problem-solvers, we often have to multitask—we need the SoftSpot.”

Seymour envisions her invention as creating the next generation of clothes for everyone in any situation. “Imagine SoftSpot as ubiquitous as a zipper.” She also likes to use the metaphor of a car. “It has GPS, a parking aid, a distance sensor, and a WIFI connection...though, we still just call it a car.” And just like you wouldn’t buy a rain jacket without Gore-Tex coating, “in the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot.”

And that future is well underway. SoftSpot was a finalist in this year’s SXSW Accelerator http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/2015-sxsw-accelerator-finalists competition in the Wearable Technology category. Up next, Seymour plans on debuting SoftSpot in this fall’s New York Fashion Week.

Like most innovations, advancements in technology helped facilitate SoftSpot’s design. Seymour lists some of those advancements as: low-power Bluetooth, the ecosystem of the Internet of Things with Apple Healthkit and Android Wear, advances in energy management, new data security standards, and of course SoftSpot’s ‘secret sauce.’ The next generation will add even more new opportunities. “It is a great space,” Seymour says, “It is never ‘done.’”

Illustration by Jason Ratliff, images courtesy of Mak/Katrin Wisskirchen and Bless

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