Foster-Miller recently designed a textile with conductive properties: each thread can transmit electrical currents, just like a wire, so that Americans will one day, at least theoretically, be able to recharge their cellphones with their polo shirts. Another firm, Technology Enabled Clothing, has developed the ScotteVest Sport Lite, which conceals cellphone headset wires and a ”hydration system,” a back pocket for a water bottle with a straw running through the vest’s collar to the wearer’s mouth.

DuPont’s apparel division is pursuing what Bob Kirkwood, a vice president at the company, calls ”the management of odors.” Next year DuPont will introduce a fabric that can temporarily imprison offensive scents — so that, say, a shirt that spent the night in a smoke-filled bar will arrive home at 5 a.m. smelling as if it passed the hours in a spring meadow. DuPont’s scientists have also developed Teflon-treated fabric; spills bounce right off.

The South Korean company Kolon, in turn, has developed the ”fragrant suit,” treated with anxiety-soothing herbs like lavender and mint. And Triumph International, a lingerie company, has produced a bra-and-underwear set that promises to keep skin supple with built-in infusions of aloe vera. It makes you wonder: how long before turtlenecks begin administering Botox?
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