Thanks to technological advancements and increased demand, workwear is evolving fast!
New designs, better fabrics, and greater health and safety awareness means workwear manufactures are now, more than ever, innovating better workwear solutions that are more suited to the demands of the industry they are designed to protect.
In this post, I will aim to explore what I think workwear of the future will look like.
Utilising Digital Technology One of the biggest, if not the biggest, changes we are likely to see will relate to the inclusion of wearable technology.
Workwear, like the trend likely to be seen in civilian wear, will incorporate new and innovative technology's directly into the fabric weave.
With this "built-in" wearable technology, human resource managers and health and safety executives will be able to monitor employee movements, vital signs, key locations, and environmental conditions, allowing them to react instantly when hazardous situations arise.
For example, imagine a workwear jacket featuring a built-in camera, GPS, accelerometer, and gyroscope, all cleverly and discreetly woven directly into a multi norm fabric.
Now let’s imagine this wearer encounters a hazard, falls and is unable to call for help.
This "smart" jacket will instantly alert a control room, send live images of the workers environment along with their vital signs, data on how and perhaps why they fell, as well as the exact location of the fallen worker.
This instant data will mean the HR and health and safety managers are able to quickly and efficiently dispatch a quick reaction extraction team, whose goal will be to extract/rescue the wearer and mitigate any further incidents.
Or how about a hard hat where the visor could deliver augmented reality (think Ironman’s heads-up display) that will allow exact schematics to be virtually placed over the physical object allowing for advanced precision.
With augmented reality the possibilities are endless and, what’s more, this futuristic innovation isn’t actually the future, augmented reality is available today....... on a smartphone!
It’s my belief that utilising technology in this way will likely cause a revolution, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the start of the information age.
Granted its inclusion in workwear will be gradual but the innovation and will to make this a reality exists, its now just down to cost!
Crossing Over Into Fashion
Workwear has rarely been considered "trendy" or "fashionable", which seems surprising when considering the origin of denim jeans. Times are, however, changing.
This year alone we’ve seen workwear style ski clothing, adorned by celebrities such as Jay Z, and multiple iterations of hi-vis clothing have been spotted on high-profile catwalks throughout Europe.
This adoption confirms a shift in thinking with regards to the physical appeal of workwear.
No longer is workwear viewed as a requirement enforced by an employer, but it is beginning to be seen as a high street and designer fashion trend.
It’s a trend that is likely to continue and grow as workers demand better, more fashionable and functional garments in line with their everyday civilian ware.
In a decade’s time, it’s possible that your workwear is far more likely to reflect and perhaps lead wider fashion trends.
There are already many inherent or otherwise technical fabrics designed to resist common workplace hazards, such as chemical splash, arc protection, and offer resistance to fire (FR).
Over the next ten years expect to see new and innovative fabrics designed to provide a broader range of resistances without hindering performance or durability.
One of the most significant challenges facing workwear manufactures is the development of durable, lightweight fabrics that offer high levels of durability and greater climate control, while providing pivotal protective features designed to ensure wearer safety.
Innovations in textile technologies will see softer, lighter, and more flexible fabrics become more widespread.
As previously mentioned we are also likely to see high demand for more innovative fabrics that can incorporate technology as part of an inherent feature of the fabric.
As industry’s transition away from traditional labour intense manufacturing, thanks to the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technologies, new roles and new hazards will affect the labour force and workplace.
The challenge for fabric and workwear manufactures will be to keep pace with these industries and ensure the latest and safest fabrics are incorporated into innovated and advanced workwear.
Innovation For Comfort
In years gone by the comfort of workwear was an afterthought when it came to workwear and PPE but that’s changing.
It’s a core factor that can help improve worker satisfaction when completing jobs.
Clothes that are designed with comfort in mind can actually enhance job performance too, as employees won’t be hindered by bulky, restrictive garments when carrying out routine tasks.
This article has only just begun to scratch the surface of the future of workwear, but it’s safe to say wearable technology will play a vital part in the years to come.
Workwear has come a long way in the last ten years alone, and one does not expect this advancement to slow any time soon.
To find out more about the protective wear visit Wearwell.co.uk