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What If Your Clothes Could Protect You From Viruses, Keep You Cool, and Simplify Your Life

A common sentiment about the rise of athleisure is that we need clothes that work harder for us. Leggings and sportswear move with our bodies, wick sweat, block UV rays, and generally “keep up” with our busy lifestyles, whether we’re working out or just running errands.

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For most of us, that’s the beginning and end of hard-working, high-tech fashion. As Vogue’s archive editor Laird Borrelli-Persson pointed out earlier this year, designers are developing advanced ways to sell and market their clothes online, but few have considered working technology into the garments themselves. “That integration of functionality and style is the new frontier, and the future,” she wrote.

A glimpse of that future may be arriving sooner than we thought. The coronavirus pandemic has upended the fashion industry and brought runway shows (mostly) to a grinding halt, but it’s also forced us to reconsider the role clothing plays in our lives.

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Words by Emily Farra