Fashion Spyder

Occasionally something comes along that fills a niche so neatly that you can’t ever imagine how you did without out it.

Spyder ski wear is cutting edge and iconic

Spyder ski wear is cutting edge and iconic

For skiers and outdoors enthusiasts, that something is Spyder wear, first launched over 30 years ago and still breaking new ground every year with their revolutionary technological breakthroughs, cool designs and innovative features, with specially designed clothing for adventurers and skiers alike.

Take their limited edition jacket launched a couple of years ago, which combines innovative fabric MP3 controls with high technology ski wear. The full limited edition outfit includes the jacket, with an integrated iPod employing Eleksen’s smart textile technology. In an amazing fusion of future technology with existing design techniques, Sypder have built the jacket using  ElekTex, Eleksen’s patented conductive fabric touch pad technology, to transform the sleeve into an electronic control panel, allowing the wearer to play, pause and skip tracks simply by touching the control buttons on the arm. The suit is crafted in full stretch fabric with a Dermizax-MP waterproof membrane, exclusive X-static silver fibre insulation, Spylon water repellent coating, and Spyder Heat, their special technology that captures and retains the wearer’s body heat for extended thermal protection.

So what’s the technology behind the integrated iPod? Eleksen’s ElekTex fabric is essentially a sandwich of conductive textiles with two outer layers separated by a partially conductive inner layer. Eleksen’s core technology, ElekTex, is based around a unique sensing fabric, which opens the door to a whole new range of ‘soft’ products as both sensor and interconnectivity are fabric and eliminate the need for external hard components.

Very clever stuff.

And their design innovations just keep on coming, as enthusiasts, such as the US Ski Team and the Canadian Alpine and Freestyle Teams, are well aware. Their Venom brand is designed for cross country, backcountry and freestyle skiers and safety is a prime consideration, so the jacket interior lining sports a white cross on a red background, a universal symbol for distress. Backpack waistband waist entry portals allow the pack straps to be secured under the jacket, not over, so the jacket can be removed more easily, while their updated technology allows an even higher warmth-to-weight ratio, with built in vents in many designs to prevent over heating. They achieve this by their use of patented insulation solutions that use a unique blend of ultra-fine multi-diameter fibres that are specially treated and water resistant, to help form a dynamic insulating structure.

Other innovative features in their suits include the built in shock protectors, which are made from specially engineered material with Intelligent Molecules, which flow with you as you move but lock together on impact to absorb shock. The Intelligent Molecules react instantly, and then when the impact is over they instantly return to their free flowing state, again and again and again.

© Claire Burdett. Please only reproduce this article with permission, in its entirety and with a hyperlink to www.claireburdett.com. Thank you.

First published in WTF magazine, 2008. Claire writes, blogs and tweets about technology at The Funky Agency.

NB To see how technology-to-wear has accelerated since this article was written just over a year ago, see http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/a-winter-jacket-that-charges-your-gadgets/#comment-40685

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