Wearable Technologies by Alistair Hinkins

Fellow Massimo Osti obsessive and top mate of Proper Alistair Hinkins has written us another gem of an article about the maestro of menswear. This time around it concerns his envelope pushing work with Levi’s on the ICD project. Check it out jacket fans:

The forthcoming all started with Massimo Osti’s collaboration with Dockers – a brand under the Levis name that focuses on khaki trousers -, where he was enlisted for a project called Equipment For Legs. Shortly after, this laid way to a joint venture between Levis and Massimo Osti that brought forth the ICD (Industrial Clothing Division) line. This was one of the last projects that Osti was involved with before his passing in 2005. The goal of this line was to create fashionable ‘workwear’ for the digital age and Levi’s, whose brand history is rooted in workwear, considered themselves – with the aid of Massimo Osti – the ones to bring this to fruition. 

Enlisting the skillset of the electronics behemoth, Philips, they developed the ICD+ line which featured four jackets – Gilet, Mooring, Beetle and Producer.  They all came equipped with an integrated system of wearable electronics; a self-contained, removable ‘Body Area Network’, which was essentially a series of connected wires that the gadgets could be plugged in to. The waterproof garments came equipped with specifically shaped pockets to store the electronics e.g Philips Xenium mobile and Rush MP3 player. They were all neatly tucked away and out of sight; a result in terms of aesthetics, which made the jackets more seamless, but also made you less likely to be mugged by not having you’re mobile on display at all times. 

This was a momentous feat at the time as it was the worlds first commercial example of wearable technology. ⁣The ICD+ range became commercially available in 2000, during a time when consumers needs for increased connectivity were soaring. People were carrying around more and more electronic products, so they decided to incorporate that into a line of functional outerwear. 

It’s now approaching 19 years since the ICD+ line was first released, but it demonstrates how far ahead Osti was. He knew that technology would become an integral part of peoples everyday lives, so he designed a piece of clothing – with the aid of Levis and Philips – that encompassed that. This was years before the first iPhone was released, a device that would go on to satiate all of our connectivity needs. 

Unfortunately, the line was discontinued due to high prices for consumers – $600 to $900. It would have been interesting to see how things would have developed had they continued to develop this line.

Read more from Alistair here.

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