An Intel Curie-powered smart sports bra and more wearable tech at NYFW

New York Fashion Week debuts for smart bras, dresses and Apple accessories
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We know smart clothing is perfectly placed to monitor our bodies as we work out but what can it do with all that data? Sending it to your smartphone or computer isn't the only answer.

This smart Aeros sports bra from Chromat is one example of wearable tech infiltrating the twice-yearly annual fashion weeks, which have kicked off in New York. Chromat is a New York based brand founded in 2010 by Becca McCharen and its smart bra tracks temperature, perspiration and stress levels; actually changing shape to support the wearer and optimise comfort.

The Lycra, mesh and neoprene bra uses shape memory alloy, smart metal which 'remembers' its original shape. Essentially, it transforms itself as and when you're hot and sweaty by opening and closing vents to cool you down or warm you up. This is a genuinely useful idea and one we hope moves into the mainstream quicker than some smart clothing ideas we've seen.

Read this: Why smart clothing is a long way from hitting the big time

Chromat's Aeros bra was debuted at MADE Fashion Week, part of New York Fashion Week, alongside the slightly wackier Adrenaline Dress which also uses biometric tracking to change its form.

The 3D printed, TPU and neoprene smart dress senses the wearer's adrenaline levels, like Anouk Wipprecht's protective smart dresses, and its carbon fibre framework expands into an architectural hourglass shape when stress levels rise. It's more showstopper than everyday dress clearly.

Both pieces of stylish smart clothing are powered by Intel's latest Curie module, aimed at designers, developers and makers and the focus of a wearable tech reality show airing in 2016.

Intelligent fashion

An Intel Curie-powered smart sports bra and more wearable tech at NYFW

Intel's VP of New Devices Ayse Ildeniz, who has previously told us that wearables need to look beyond just fitness applications, said in a blog post: "The two garments powered by Intel technology illustrate the potential of future integrations of fashion and technology by bringing innovative concepts and aspirations to life.

"As we continue our exploration with wearable tech and incorporating technology into clothing, we at Intel look forward to empowering and inspiring the fashion industry by elevating the utility of clothing and accessories with intelligent capabilities."

An interesting note at the bottom of the press release stated that the Chromat smart clothing might not go on sale until Intel Curie passes through the FCC in the US. This means it may be some months yet before we see Curie-powered wearable tech on sale in America.

The disclaimer reads: "The Intel Curie module has not yet been authorised as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. These garments are not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorisation is obtained."

Wearable tech at NYFW

An Intel Curie-powered smart sports bra and more wearable tech at NYFW

Most fashion tech focuses on promoting and selling designer pieces, not actually helping to make them, and New York Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2016 is shaping up to follow this pattern. Periscope, aerial drones, emojis and Instagram are everywhere at the twice yearly fashion industry event. But we have seen a few other wearable tech announcements.

Rebecca Minkoff, a label which has also been involved in Intel's competitions, has launched a nice selection of black and snakeskin leather bands for the Apple Watch. There's a lovely double wrap style and all three styles are aimed at buyers of the stainless steel model according to the designer.

The line, which starts at a pretty reasonable $80, is a collaboration with Apple accessory manufacturer Case-Mate and also features an iPhone-charging wallet and wristlet.

An Intel Curie-powered smart sports bra and more wearable tech at NYFW

More in line with what designers such as Richard Nicoll are comfortable with presenting to high fashion pundits is Zac Posen's Made With Code dress. It's a collaboration with Google and features CuteCircuit-style LEDs across the dress which display different patterns.

Posen worked with engineer and Made With Code mentor Maddy Maxey to create the dress which is the first LED dress to feature at NYFW - both Paris and London pipped New York to the post.

The collaboration is part of a push to inspire young girls to get into coding via Google's visual coding system Blockly and we're sure having Coca Rocha prance about in a tech prom dress can't hurt.

London Fashion Week begins on 18 September so we will keep our eyes peeled for any stylish smart clothing coming out of the British capital this week.

How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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