High-tech, meet high fashion. With Ralph Lauren’s introduction of its new “smart” PoloTech shirt, high-tech fashion is now synonymous with high-fashion technology. For a cool $295, you can be the proud owner of one of these luxury items, made all the more impressive by their next generation material (or, if you’re a purist, their name brand design). With the silver fibers that have become a mainstay in smart clothing, including in radiation protecting underwear, Ralph Lauren’s PoloTech shirt tells you how to work out, and records information about your exercise routine so that you look as good out of the shirt as you do in it.
The PoloTech, first debuted at the 2014 U.S. Open, was initially worn by ball boys and American tennis player Marcos Giron to test the technology’s effectiveness. It marked the first time a major fashion label had delved into the realm of smart clothing — previously, only accessories had been breached by designers of a similar caliber, like the Tory Burch-designed FitBit. David Lauren, the Ralph Lauren’s executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications noted that their latest release appears as “the first major luxury fashion brand to come to market” with such a technologically advanced piece of clothing.
Thanks to the silver fibers and a tiny “black box” sensor that attaches into the shirt close to the wearer’s rib cage, the “second-skin” PoloTech expertly tracks health metrics like steps taken, heart rate, breathing rate and depth, and energy expenditures. This data is then transferred to a Ralph Lauren iOS app — sorry Android users, no fun for you. Still, the PoloTech shirt believes that it and its app set themselves apart by not only aggregating information, but then going a step further and providing the user with advice on how to improve workouts.
While the PoloTech will only be available for men when it launches on August 27, the company is also looking toward a women’s version, and expanding its line of smart wear to include other types of clothing — maybe even a smart suit. Of course, given the price point of the shirt alone, you’ll have to be prepared to shell out some major change for this personalized workout device, but just think of it this way — at $295, it’s still $55 cheaper than the Apple Watch.
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