Connected apparel developer WearableX has introduced its “responsive” yoga pants. The Nadi X Pant & Pulse include pants intended to be worn with a Bluetooth-enabled pulsing device that reacts to, and helps guide the wearer’s movement as they are doing yoga, according to Glossy.
When a wearer is practicing yoga, the pulse device reads their movements, communicating them to a smartphone app that tracks the wearer's yoga sessions. The app then sends the device information which it communicates to the wearer via pulses to help correct yoga balance and movement.
The device, when available later this summer, will cost $299 and works with a $199 yoga pant. The originally-purchased pulse device can be worn any additional pair of Nadi X pants. The pants and device are scheduled to ship in August.
Smart wearables and connected apparel present interesting opportunities for any designer, manufacturer or seller of apparel, but this has been an elusive market so far. No retailer or brand has really excelled at it.
Under Armour bought into the concept in a big way, and last December expanded its line of Record Equipped smart running shoes. Those shoes rely on a similar idea — run tracking technology through Under Armour's MapMyRun mobile app. Under Armour also has several apps offered through its Connected Fitness unit, which recently cut some jobs, although those eliminated positions appear to have been associated with one particular app.
The Nadi X Pants & Pulse represented the first product from WearableX in the Los Angeles Times reports will be a fairly vast array of connected apparel products including a connected sports bra and other wearables for athletes focusing on different sports.
One of the most interesting things about all this — and perhaps one of the scariest things for retailers — is that WearableX isn't looking to sell its smart apparel through any retail partners, at least not yet. WearableX founder Billie Whitehouse told the LA Times, "I don't believe we belong on a rack next to other products."
That's a bold statement for a small, new company to make, but she might be onto something. Andy Hoar, VP and principal analyst for e-business and channel strategy at Forrester Research, recently spoke at a Forrester event in Chicago where he detailed the results of a recent study that, among other things, found that 43% of buyers want to buy directly from brands that manufacture the products they are interested in.
All of this makes WearableX a brand worth watching, to see if it can make connected apparel work as a business endeavor, and if it can do so without significant retail partnerships.