In the future, your jacket is your phone. And the future starts now.
Levi's and Google — iconic American brands from two eras — have collaborated on a jean jacket that lets its wearer control a smartphone by simply touching the sleeve. To be sure, it’s a niche product: This new connected version of the Trucker jacket is aimed primarily at those consumers who ride bicycles to work. But its release could point toward a postscreen digital era and marks an important step forward for wearable technology, which mostly has been limited to watches and eyewear.
The Commuter Trucker jacket incorporates Google’s Jacquard technology — conducive fibers that are woven directly into the fabric at its left cuff link. To connect to the phone, you attach a clip at the left wrist and then control your phone’s music, get directions, take calls, and listen and respond to text messages by brushing or tapping your sleeve. The jacket automatically senses when you are wearing it. Exact gesture controls can be customized using an app, and the jacket works with both iPhone and Android.
You’ll pay a premium for your sleeve connectivity. The new jacket retails for $350, while a regular Trucker jacket — that just, you know, keeps you warm — runs under $150. And you’ll want to keep the jacket clean, as it can be washed only 10 times before the technical fibers may wear down.
The connected jacket is available this week at a handful of boutique outlets. On Oct. 2, it arrives at select Levi’s locations and will be on sale at levi.com.