Levi’s collaborated with Google for its latest garment, a denim trucker jacket with an interface called Jacquard woven into the left cuff. The conductive threads form an interactive panel that allows wearers to control necessary smartphone functions with just a touch. For Paul Dillinger, Levi’s VP of innovation, it all started with one question: “What can be done that can break this dependence on the phone — which is, after all, an imposed interface — and embed an interface in all the things that exist naturally for us?”
The jacket is designed for the commuter. It features a ventilated back with reflective details and a left-arm zip-pocket. The Jacquard interface allows wearers to access the most essential features of their phone while commuting by providing access to navigation, music and messaging, among other things. For a cyclist who needs to remain aware, with their eyes on the road, this jacket provides an easy way to stay connected. “You can select what it does for you,” says Ivan Poupyrev, the technical project lead for Jacquard by Google. At its most basic, it’s a good-looking jacket. At its best, it will help you be more present in your daily life by removing the need to look at your phone.
For only $350, this jacket is a very accessible piece of wearable tech. It also represents the integration of technology into the world of garments and soft goods. Dillinger sees this jacket as the first step, a call-to-action for other companies. “Working with Google, we saw the opportunity to become a participant in the creation of a whole new platform,” he says. “But, it’s going to be at its best when other brands are figuring out how it works for them.”