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Just say the word: apps to help you figure out what clothes to wear

Sophisticated fabric care solutions that care for the garments themselves

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 June, 2017, 9:25am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 June, 2017, 9:25am

Figuring out what to wear each day can be more fraught than fun. Luckily, there are apps for that. Cluise, for instance, will pull together weather-appropriate, on-trend outfits using your own items of clothing; while Closet+ will remind you when an outfit was last worn.

While you’re getting ready, smart mirrors,  such as the Connected Mirror from Griffin Technologies, coming later this year, will keep you updated on local weather.

Then, when you want to show off your style, just say the word. The voice-activated, hands-free camera built into Amazon’s new Echo Look takes a full-length selfie or 360-degree video – even offering a second opinion on what looks best. Quickly post to your fashion blog or social media streams, and you’re set for the day.

While these examples of fashion functionality might be a handy companion for the well-dressed man or woman about town, they do nothing to care for the garments themselves. That’s the job of sophisticated fabric care solutions such as Refresh Butler, from Swiss brand V-ZUG. Wearers simply hang their prized garments in the upright cabinet and let technology do the dirty work.

The technology within the system combines three practical functions: the refresh function to neutralise odours; the hygiene function to remove bacteria and germs from fabrics; and the drying function to revive coats and shoes soaked by rain. All this is achieved without using chemicals, water, or anything which might harm the delicate fabrics.

The secret lies in the combination of photocatalysis and steam in a closed air circuit. “An active photocatalytic coating, when combined with light and steam, ensures that fabrics are refreshed and cared for in a gentle way. The integrated heat pump guarantees energy-saving operation,” says Alberto Bertoz, V-ZUG’s managing director Greater China.

For the daily wash, German brand Miele has introduced a new ironing system to its premium laundry care portfolio. The FashionMaster Premium Ironing System, displayed at the

2017 Architectural Digest Design Show in New York in March, combines a lightweight iron with patented honeycomb soleplate, and an ironing board with integrated fans, powerful steam, and intuitive controls to provide optimal care for every type of fabric. This new release complements Miele’s range of washing machines and tumble dryers.

Also this year, at CES 2017, Samsung launched its latest FlexWash + FlexDry laundry system, appliances designed to offer two washers and two dryers in one system. Apart from tackling large laundry loads, the system takes care of delicates as well with a special zone for controlled, heated air flow. The main dryer compartment also uses Samsung’s MultiSteam technology to freshen and disinfect clothes while reducing odours and wrinkles. The whole system is inter-net-of-things-enabled and backed by smart features that will allow users to control the machines with their smartphones, using the Samsung Smart Home app.

Meanwhile, Whirlpool eliminates one step in the laundry chore – transferring a load from one machine to another - with its Smart All-in-One Care Washer and Dryer Combo. The unit senses when washing supplies are low and can automatically order more, via the Whirlpool mobile app and Amazon Dash. And, for the majority of consumers who have told market researchers they are clueless about the type of laundry cycle best suited for special loads, the machine can intuitively take care of that, too.

Another way to care for clothes, especially when closet space is tight, is to outsource their storage. PAKT professionally photographs your items so you can manage your wardrobe online. The company can schedule a pick-up and delivery of your chosen garments, and organise to recycle, via donation, any items you no longer want. A “clothes spa” service, covering alterations and repairs, dry cleaning and pressing, is available.

Technology-enhanced solutions which care for and therefore extend the life of garments protect the financial investment of the wearer, and help reduce waste. They also reduce the damage the manufacturing process of clothing does to the environment. WWF estimates that it can take 2,700 litres of water to produce one single cotton T-shirt.  Christina Dean, founder and CEO of Redress, a Hong Kong-based NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry, says: “By caring more for our clothes, we can keep them in the fashion loop for longer, and may look better in the process. Fundamentally, this can be done without compromise to style.”