GES-Hyderabad: Smart materials to shape fashion wear

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 09, 2018

AMANDA J PARKES, Chief Innovation Officer, Fashion Technology Laboratories

US-based Fashion Technology Labs is fabricating textiles with integrated circuits

Amanda J Parkes is a fashion technologist who combines her deep understanding of wearable technology to shape new creations for the glamorous and flourishing global fashion industry.

As Chief Innovation Officer at US-based Fashion Technology Laboratories (FTL), she drives designs through a fusion of new smart materials and wearable technology. At FTL’s ‘Sustainable Chic in a Lab’, Amanda leads a team which works with luxury brands to create new designs and products.

Backed by a $50-million fund, the start-up is keen to bring a new wave in the future of fashion industry. “We are blending textiles and biotechnology to create products that are fashionable, friendly to skin and have electronics embedded,” she told BusinessLine on the sidelines of the GES 2017 here. The rapid developments in material sciences and nano technology are helping us to fabricate textiles with integrated circuits and smart materials that give us the functions which we desire for the hi-tech fabrics that we intend to bring to the market, says Amanda, who has a doctorate from MIT Media Lab.

She was one of the key speakers at the ‘enGENDERED Dialogues 2.0’ session at the GES, where entrepreneurs who transcended personal and social barriers and created out-of-the-box innovations made presentations.

“Wearable technology, at present, is associated with devices or gadgets worn around the wrist and head. But, the evolution towards smart textiles will allow researchers to explore the entire human body and newer clothing,” she explained.

Some promising breakthroughs like orange fibre textiles are on the horizon. Similarly, textiles from different plants and chitosans from shrimp, which find applications in cosmetics and skin applications. For her work, Amanda was picked as one of the ‘8 wildest women of Silicon Valley’ by Vanity Fair. Given the exciting prospects in the field, FTL is confident of attracting a second round of funding of up to $150 million to pursue material science and nano technology, she said.

“The focus will be not on consumer products in wearables, but on smart textiles and how the fashion industry can exploit it.”

While many companies, both big and start-ups, are working on wearable technologies, biggies like Apple (Apple Watch) and Google (Glasses) are also into wearables with an eye on textiles and other emerging applications.

Published on November 30, 2017

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