Wearing it well, clothing that makes us better

We’ve lost count of the number of articles we’ve read about clothes, shoes and accessories made from plastic bottles, old tyres and discarded fishing nets, to name but a few. But this week we bring you more information about ‘smart’ clothes and accessories designed to boost your health and wellbeing and others that lean on ancient remedies to make us feel better.

Fabrics, skins and furs have been lauded for centuries for their ability to keep us warm or cool, or wick water away from our skin, but latest technology is imbuing what we wear with a whole new level of functionality.

According to the latest heavy weight Global Wellness Trends Report from the Global Wellness Summit futuristic fashion is moving beyond clothes that adapt to the environment – from heat to cold, damp, air flow and UV rays to something it calls ‘active well clothing’ – connected, intelligent and healing. These range from antibacterial clothing that can clean itself to garms that can heal, moisturise your skin or even express your mood. Minds blown? Ours certainly were.

PJs return infrared energy to your body, boosting localised blood flow and upping the amount of oxygen reaching the muscles

Take a look at ChroMorphous fabric developed by scientists at the University of Central Florida. The wearer can use a smartphone app to change the fabric colour: Or a collaboration between Zaha Hadid Design and Swiss tech start-up Odlo. Between them they have created base layer leggings and tops with seamless knit technology and ‘organic body mapping’ that controls the flow of air around the body and adapts to breathing and movement – just like a second skin.

But perhaps our favourite concepts are clothes that claim they can help the body to heal. Under Armour’s Athlete Recovery Sleepwear. The PJs return infrared energy to your body, boosting localised blood flow and upping the amount of oxygen reaching the muscles, helping them to heal after a tough sports or gym session.

Then there’s Lumiton, a start-up brand that says its sunlight-activated Wear Healthy clothes is powered by laser technology. It claims the UV-protecting fabrics can convert sunlight into red and near-infrared light whose benefits include ‘increased cellular energy, increased collagen and reduced pain and inflammation alongside accelerated muscle growth and muscle recovery.

There’s even a brand that claims to offer impact protection to reduce whiplash and concussion. Aexos’ Halo shirt has a high collar that remains soft and flexible during normal wear but stiffens and protects on impact. As the Global Wellness Trends Report points out, just imagine the possibilities of adapting this tech for the elderly or vulnerable people with fragile bones.

Finally, if you prefer your fashion to be a little closer to nature, then take a look at Australian brand Kitx that uses Ayurvedic recipes to dye its clothes – infusing them with antibacterial properties: Or slip on a pair of Astara Earth Shoes that use crystals such as black onyx and blue apatite so the shoes ‘resonate at the same vibration as Earth’s magnetic field’ (7.83 hertz, in case you’re wondering).

This is just a taster of the innovation and technological advances in wellbeing clothing and wearables and we’re excited to see what might be next. In the coming weeks we’ll bring you more from the Global Wellness Summit, its research and thinking…stay tuned.