How technology is improving menswear

Contrary to popular opinion, James Bond's weapon of choice wasn't a Walther PPK. It wasn't even an exploding pen or a machine gun-equipped Aston Martin.

No, the most consistent item to be found in Bond's personal arsenal was his collection of impeccably selected suits.

Who else could survive being shot at, bombed, wrestled, choked, kicked and punched and emerge looking like an ad for Armani, ready for the next romantic tryst?


Mind you, with high fashion and cutting-edge technology set to collide in the realm of menswear, the prospect of an indestructible suit may not be too far from reality.

The current release of hi-tech blazers are not bulletproof nor stacked with hidden lasers (yet). They are, however, perfect for combatting the genuine perils of urban reconnaissance such as Australian summers, red wine and even public transport.

American menswear label Van Heusen has built a reputation for innovation and classic styling. That soft-folded collar we all love so much? You can thank Van Heusen for inventing that.

In keeping with this tradition, earlier this year Van Heusen released a range of suits and shirts for men using state-of-the-art fabrics and construction to help battle the daily wear and tear an average suited gent might face.

This includes shirts made of heat-resistant material known as Coldblack, which uses light-reflective technology and enables dark fabrics to reduce heat; and the Move range, a blend of wool and elastane with stretch shoulder panels that allows for movement and comfort while also maintaining a streamlined silhouette.


Van Heusen design chief Stewart Lock thinks the rise in interest for new fabric technology in menswear comes not only from men becoming more fashion savvy, but also from an instinctive affinity for gadgets.

"Australian guys are inquisitive and have a genuine interest in new technology," Lock says.

"They want to know what makes a product better than its competition, and they want to wear the best product that they can afford. We've developed and adapted sportswear technology to work for business-wear products and produced clothing in conjunction with traditional business-wear fabrics."

Kill the commuter crumple

Even brands known for a more classic aesthetic such Hugo Boss are dabbling in the hotbed of convergence between science and fashion. Taking their cue from the high-flying executive set, the team at Hugo Boss has created a solution to the 'commuter crumple'.

Its Traveller Collection is a range of suits, shirts and ties created using 1 per cent carbon fibres. The crinkle-resistant combination of high-quality wools and carbon fibre is designed to help the wearer be meeting-ready after a long-haul flight or even the morning train.

The best part is that this kind of ingenuity in fashion is just the beginning.

The Textile Nanotechnology Lab at New York's Cornell University, is run by a research group aiming to explore "the interface between the technologically established and mature field of textile science and the emerging and revolutionary field of nanoscale science".

Charge your phone

Some exciting projects under development include solar-powered garments that use conductive cotton to charge smartphones, and the creation of antibacterial fibres for clothing that can help suppress viruses.

The latter may be met with little enthusiasm in Australia if it spells the end of the time-honoured tradition of throwing a sickie.

It's all very impressive but for me, nothing will ever be as awesome as the fashion revolution that was Generra Sportswear's Hypercolor t-shirt.

What do you make of fashion's turn towards technology?

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