This will be the brand’s introduction into the wearable technology industry.
The U.S. Open wasn’t just an exciting event for tennis fans, this year, as it also represented the introduction of the latest in smart clothing, which was, in this case, made up of a nylon t-shirt from Ralph Lauren, which was able to monitor the stress levels and heart rate of the wearer.
All the athlete needed to do was wear the shirt, and certain physical responses could be monitored remotely.
David Lauren spoke about the smart clothing only days ahead of the U.S. Open on Monday, saying that “It’s fascinating to see this guy at the peak of his youth and his health, to watch the stress that he’s under when Roger Federer is handing him a ball.” He added that “You can actually see his heart rate spike,” and that “You can see his breathing,” as those activities had been monitored remotely. Lauren is the Ralph Lauren executive vice president for advertising, marketing, and corporate communications, as well as the designer’s son.
This year, it was the ball boys at the Open who were wearing the smart clothing and trying it out in front of the world.
The Ralph Lauren shirt was worn by the event’s ball boys as the brand’s first step into the wearable tech category. This was its response to the growing trend in which everything from watches to headbands and even shoes are starting to include technology that will allow a wearer to monitor certain functions that include everything from steps to calorie counting and from heart rate to breathing.
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In the case of the Ralph Lauren brand, they decided to stick to the category in which they are the most familiar, apparel, as they felt that this was not only their primary strength, but it also suited the wearable technology category the best, as “we live in our clothes”, said David Lauren.
Spectators who were present as well as those watching on television or online around the world watched the smart clothing in the form of a fitted, sleek looking athletic shirt with the polo pony of Ralph Lauren on the front. What wasn’t visible was the discreet silver coated conductive thread that was woven right into the nylon fibers.