Latest fashion is smart and high-tech

Anything goes, as they say, in the world of fashion. >

And in this stressful modern age, people from all walks of life need to be prepared for any contingency, be it extreme weather conditions or just the daily grind of life.

In that sense, a fashion evolution, seemingly buoyed by a change in the way consumers -think clothes- is taking place.

The clothing industry is bringing high technology to fashion.

In a nutshell, fashionable, tech-inspired, feel-good gear is cropping up everywhere. The clothing is designed to keep the wearer warm and smelling fresh.

EVEN A DISASTER CAN PROVIDE INSPIRATION

Japanese fashion guru Issey Miyake leaves no stone unturned in his quest to find the right material. At the same time, he pays sharp attention to the environment. The theme for his fall-winter 2013/2014 menswear collection was -WINTER WISDOM & MOBILITY,- a line of menswear aimed at keeping the wearer warm on the most bitter and windy days.

Issey Miyake’s thermals retain heat, but are not bulky. His clothes are airy and light, and offer mobility.

His signature material is called -Extreme Film.- It is flimsy and light, just like foil. It was inspired by the emergency blankets used at disaster sites. Miyake worked the material into a sporty, urban outfit with heat retaining qualities comparable to five or six blankets.

Emergency blankets made from aluminum were originally developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for space suits. Miyake made it his own by laminating the material with film. The seams are sealed with special tape to keep out cold air. A full length coat weighs only 500 grams or so.

An insider at Miyake’s studio explained that the world-famous designer strives to -combine cutting-edge technology with traditional wisdom to create clothes for modern people who live in tough, extreme environments.-

Besides the Extreme Film line, Miyake also created a lightweight jacket made from an unusual homespun blend woven from nylon and -washi- Japanese paper. Miyake made use of Japanese ancestral artisanship such as -sakiori,- a traditional method of weaving using strips of old fabric, and -sashiko,- a stitching technique traditionally used to reinforce and patch up tears and wear. Miyake managed to bring back Japanese crafts with a modern take.

Items from the new line go on sale from early July.

SPACE-AGE MATERIALS FOR PRACTICAL USE

Textile manufacturer Seiren Co. came up with -Deoest,- a brand of deodorizing underwear to help beat the heat during the notoriously muggy Japanese summers. In May, the company launched five Deoest items, including camisoles and leggings for women, and underwear for men. The items each cost around 3,000 yen ($30).

Highly porous ceramic particles woven into the material absorb and trap unwanted odor; then metal ions break down the odorous elements. According to Seiren, Deoset underwear eliminates 80 percent of perspiration and body odors within 30 seconds. It also says the deodorizing effect will stay intact after 100 washings.

The company began developing the deodorizing technology eight years ago in cooperation with Hiroki Ohge, a professor at Hiroshima University, who has extensive experience treating patients who are highly sensitive about their body odor.

A Seiren official said: -It was Uniqlo’s underwear that became a runaway hit, and that changed things in a big way. Consumers began seeking functionality in clothes. Now we can compete using our technology, rather than wasting away in unrelenting price wars.-

Menswear maker and retailer Konaka Co. also developed an odor-free dress shirt. Called Mushon Fabric shirts, they went on sale in May priced at 3,990 yen at the company’s Suit Select shops, which target the younger set. The shirts retain deodorant effectiveness even after repeated washings.

The nanotechnology-based deodorant material was originally developed for astronauts at the International Space Station. The fabric is permeated with a solvent that neutralizes ammonia, the major culprit behind unpleasant body odor.

A Konaka official explained: -In addition to cool styling, consumers demanded a fresh clean feeling and quick-drying functionality. That’s how we arrived at deodorant material.-

It’s not only Japanese manufacturers that are into making down-to-earth good use of space technology. Luxury department store Barneys New York offers jackets and pants that feature “Outlast” technology, which absorbs stores and releases heat for optimal thermal comfort. The material was developed to better protect astronauts.

Microencapsulated paraffin gel wax is woven into the fibers. The capsules release heat when the temperature goes up, to retain the skin surface temperature at a comfy 31 to 33 degrees.

ATTRACTION OF MAGNETS AND BRAS

The quest for comfort has no limit. Underwear manufacturer Triumph is marketing undergarments that contain tiny magnets to help women suffering from stiff shoulder and back pain. The tops and bottoms cost around 2,000 yen to 4,000 yen each. The garments were developed in cooperation with PIP CO., a company that manufactures and sells medical hygiene products, including ELEKIBAN.

Pip Elekiban are tiny magnets sold as adhesives, which are said to help ease muscle pain by creating low-level electromagnetic fields. The garments are actually marketed as controlled medical devices under the pharmaceutical affairs law.

In April, Triumph released bra straps embedded with the tiny magnets. The pellets are less than 1 mm thick, so the straps are sleek and comfortable. A Triumph official explained: -For customers to choose our product, we need to showcase some function that is special and unique.-

Numerous companies cite Uniqlo, run by Fast Retailing Co., for -changing consumer consciousness.- Uniqlo is now busy marketing its newest line of functional undergarments called AIRism, made from ultra-fine fibers. The fabric offers excellent sweat absorption and dries quickly.

According to Uniqlo, layering is -essential—especially during Japan’s humid summer months. The company’s goal is to build AIRism into its next major item comparable to its signature winter staple, the heat generating Heattech line.

One after another, manufacturers are coming up with new desirable functions to create a -product of choice.-

High technology is spurring these special functions. And technology is what could propel high fashion, constantly in search of differentiation, beyond its borders.

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Fingerless Gloves for Warmth, Style, and Touch Screens

The uses of fingerless gloves are phenomenal. People use them to keep their arms warm, to match a particular style of clothing, and to use their touch screen devices. Who would have thought that the invention of fingerless gloves would be so handy? Imagine not having to remove these gloves and still access a tablet PC or smartphone. Fingerless gloves come in handy for a number of things.

The Steering Wheel wont Slip from Hands

Gloves that completely cover the hands and fingers restrict people from doing specific things. Driving is a little difficult since some gloves dont have material that allows people to grip the steering wheel properly. However, fingerless gloves still keep the base of fingers and palms toasty, while users can properly drive a car without losing their grip on the steering wheel.

Gripping a Football or Other Game Piece

Guys and some girls like to play family football during the holidays. But, there are places where its cold to play outside, yet the tradition must be kept up. With the use of fingerless gloves, groups of people can keep their hands warm and still grip a football with ease. The same goes for other outdoor games that may be played during the cooler seasons. For instance, beanbag tossing or carnival games can still be played with fingerless gloves.

Using a Smartphone or Tablet PC Device

Fingerless gloves became very popular with the rise of smartphones and tablet PCs. This is because its impossible to use the device without the touch of a bare fingertip against the screen. With fingerless gloves, people can now access their touchscreen devices without having to remove their entire glove. Its a hassle to pull off a glove just to use a device and then put it back on, typically with only one hand. This increases the chance of dropping your devices.

They Make Great Gifts

Fingerless gloves and fuzzy toe socks make excellent gifts for any time during the cooler months. They come in many styles, fabrics, and colors, people cant resist picking them up for their children or friend.

The interesting thing about fingerless gloves is that they sometimes have a pocket that allows people to cover their fingers. This is usually a small pocket on the top of the glove that can be pulled over bare fingers. Theyre simple to button and remove to make use of the fingers and keep them warm.

Zoot Suits

If you think that the nonconformist movement started in the 1960s with the Beatniks and turned into the Hippy Movement, think again. Throughout human history there has always been a society and ways to conform to it. Every generation seems to have a group of people who want to shake things up it seems. Our generation of modern day seems to like to adorn themselves with more tattoos and piercings than the amount of skin they have. Anything not to look “Normal”. Well, if you go back in time to the 1930s and 1940s you will see another prime example of the nonconformist. It is called the Zoot Suit or Zuit Suit. The zoot suit started it’s name by the Mexican immigrant’s mispronunciation of the word suit. The zoot suit is traditionally a highly padded shoulder baggy long coat about 38 inches long as compared to a traditional business suit whose jacket is about 32 inches long. The pants on a zoot suit are equally baggy and high waisted with peg leg cuffs to finish the look. When you compare the look of a zoot suit and a classic or business suit, the zoot suit looks like a flashy thumb in the eye of conformity. It didn’t take long for zoot suits to become a fashion favorite by Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and African Americans back in the 1930s. There has always been a history of nonconformity in these social circles because conformity has always meant bowing down to the man.

During World War Two, many things were rationed due to shortages of production on virtually everything and fabric was one of them. The U.S. War Production Board wanted to ban the manufacturing of zoot suits because of the amount of fabric used to make the extra long coat and bagginess of the pants. Because of the cracking down on zoot suits and it’s wearers a zoot suit riot broke out in California. There was the threat of arrest if you were seen wearing a zoot suit. If you were a cool cat who wore zoot suits, you were sort of like the rebellious anti-establishment biker type of today.

It takes a bold certain type of man to wear a zoot suit because wearing a zoot suit is almost equivalent to becoming your own three ring circus. There is simply no way of blending in crowd when you wear a zoot suit. From head to toe it’s Flash,Flash,Flash. Zoot suits were never intended to wear to a work environment but to wear to parties and special events where you can have fun. The zoot suit is still around in a modern cut. It is no longer the baggy shapeless suit of yore but a more tailored long jacket suit with matching pants. These suits are still worn in the same social circles for the most part. So if you are the type who likes to stick their thumb in eye of the “Man”, it is still possible to buy a zoot suit.

Get the rock chick look for grown ups

Growing up doesn’t mean you have to start dressing like your more elderly relations, there’s plenty of room in your wardrobe for fun, exciting and interesting outfits no matter what age you are. There are few styles as great for letting your hair down and getting ready to party as the classic rock chick, and you’ll be glad to know that you dont necessarily have to leave it behind as you get older. All you need to do is make some minor adjustments to the basics and you’ll have a rock chick look that will allow you to party all night whatever age you are.

The rock chick look can be very flattering to women of all ages as long as you’re willing to say good-bye to some of the more risqu favourites. With a few simple swaps, you’re already halfway there. Ditch the teeny tiny mini skirts in favour of tight black pencil skirts and swap bright pink leopard print leggings for a pair of muted metallic tights. The rock chick look is all about attitude, so look for ways you can tone down the style without losing any of the intent.

Slim or skinny fit jeans are perfect especially when teamed with a classic, fitted white shirt or a vest top. Good boots are another essential and even if you think your days of thigh highs are past, a small heel and some kick ass pointy toes are just the thing to give your outfit an edge. The key to updating the rock look is to mix grunge with grown up glamour. Think faded band t-shirt combined with a gorgeous gold pendant or a rough and tough jeans and jacket combo softened by a pink slip and a slash of red lipstick.

Leather trousers and skirts are another characteristic rock look that just keeps coming back and if you have the figure to get away with them, go for it. Moderation is the key thing to remember here, while leather trousers and a simple singlet can look great, if you pair leather boots, trousers and jacket, you could end up looking like a washed out star rather than a fashion-savvy woman in her prime.

Of course, the real crowning glory to any rock chick ensemble is a beautiful, tough leather biker jacket. Choose wisely and your leather jacket will see you through thick and thin as it will look great with everything from skinny jeans and plimsolls to covering a floaty white dress and sandals. There are few jackets as versatile as the biker jacket and while it has real rock and roll roots, its now also a firm fashion favourite with trend setters the world over.

Transform yourself into a sophisticated rock chick ready for a wild night on the tiles by slipping on your womens leather biker jacket, using some soft kohl to outline your eyes and accessorising with some oversized silver or gold bangles. You’ll have the grown up rock chick look down to a T, all you’ll need to do to hang on to that glamorous aura is stay away from karaoke bars and the temptation to blast out a few classics.

What to Wear to a Staff Night Out

Can’t quite figure out what to wear to your upcoming staff night out? With Christmas just around the corner, most employers have come up with some idea of how to mark the end of the year and revel in the festive season. In most cases, it’s a party that starts with a meal and ends on the dancefloor, at a karaoke bar or a chip shop late at night…

With such a potentially jam-packed agenda, it’s important to choose your outfit well, for practical reasons such as comfort, warmth and stain potential.

Be sure to find out as much as you can about the plans and the dress code. You don’t want to risk showing up underdressed or overdressed, or wearing the same outfit as a colleague. Therefore communication is also a must. While this is easier said than done when it comes to big companies, at least make sure to coordinate outfits among those you work closest with.

Menswear

If you’re not headed to an overly formal venue, but rather a smart casual affair, choose a pair of chinos in a subdued block colour like grey, khaki, clay or navy. Team these with a crisp, button front shirt in either a sheer colour or a classic pattern such as checks or polka dots. Accessorise with vintage pieces: a leather belt and brogues. Top off the smart casual look with either a cardigan or a smart blazer, depending on the venue.

Is a more formal shindig on the cards? In this case you may indeed have to opt for a suit, but why not jazz things up a bit by opting for a less conventional colour than black or grey? Navy, dark green and dark red can look really effective teamed with a simple shirt and leather shoes. Alternatively, if you feel that might be too much of a bold statement, choose trousers and a jacket in two different tones.

Womenswear

There is no “just wear a suit” option for women so you have to be a bit more creative with your outfits.

One of the most practical types of party dresses is the t-shirt dress. It’s a trendy and very comfortable piece that can simply be thrown over a pair of opaque tights or leggings and accessorised with heels or flats according to the venue and planned activities. For warmth, throw on a fitted blazer in a seasonal colour like dark red, dark green or deep blue. Choose a dress with detail like sequins, metallic thread or lace so you don’t have to go overboard with jewellery.

These days, it’s also perfectly acceptable to wear a pair of trousers. Ideally, black or magnolia are the way to go. Tight fitting or wide leg styles are both bang on trend. Team with simple tops in statement fabrics such as silk or velvet.