Gandharv Bakshi is a Computer Science and Engineering graduate, Batch of 2005. 

When I look at clothes and backpacks and curtains, I get the feeling that the entire apparel and accessories industry is stuck in the 19th century.

Mostly, they provide cosmetic value and the basic functional value has not evolved much over the last 100 years. However, a big component – technology – seems to be missing from the way clothes have been designed and developed over the last century. To a large extent, Lumos was founded to change that.

Over the last 10 years, we have started carrying significantly more technology on us (and in all sizes). The roadmap of Lumos matches the way I see wearable technology going. There will be 3 broad-phases:

Accompaniment to our Technology – Phase 1

In the first phase, which may last around 4-5 years, our clothes (which include accessories like backpack as well, for the sake of this discussion) will become ideal containers not just for our bodies but for our technology as well. They will also interact with our technology – in terms of charging a phone/laptop, in terms of showing notifications (new email etc), or in terms of passing on valuable data (like BP) to your phones for transmission.

Replacement of our Technology (Death of the Smart-phone) – Phase 2

Slowly, however, we see wearable technology will start replacing technology components. It would start small. For example, as blue-tooth receivers become cheaper, we see them being built into shirt collars as a basic function. Slowly, we also see the display making its way onto Shirt-sleeves making it easier to see notifications, mails and messages. In the final part of this phase, we see the basic calling and messaging functions being taken over by clothes too. This wouldn’t be in isolation; technological developments in the the areas of projection, and Electronic Fabric (both areas which are ready for commercialization today) would dictate the price points and speed. But that it would happen is undeniable. Over the last 5-years, we have seen consolidation of features in Smart-phones – they do everything now! But at the end of Phase 2 of wearable technology, we see the Smartphone dying in it current form and all its features being distributed over our clothes.

The birth of Personalized and truly fast fashion

Fast fashion currently is an oxymoron. Most clothes people see in stores today were designed around a year back. Additionally, there is no personalization – if I wanted to add 2 blue lines over my black T-shirt, I cant do it without it looking like an amateurs job. However, around 2020, we see all this changing. It will be possible to build an entire T-shirt composed of display material ( this is not yet possible, but a whole bunch of developments will get us there in a 4-5 years). So basically, you buy one T-shirt made of this display material. You can make it look Plain blue one day, and a multi-colored party t-shirt the next day – You can program it to look the way you want! This would also lead to a few other business models – you can download patterns from the internet made by a designer yesterday and upload it onto your T-shirt. This will also lead to serious shrinkage of the wardrobe – we expect it to be by anywhere from 80%-90%. People would only buy “Generic” T-shirts and Shirts and upload a pattern onto it as they desire.

Wearable tech roadmap

The above represents how we see the Lumos technology roadmap going too. We are currently tracking a whole bunch of different technologies, both in materials and fabric and Electronics that would lead us to have a strong belief that the wearable technology roadmap will play out as above. Today, in India (in labs in IIT Madras and Indian Institute of Science), it is possible for us to make a Solar Fabric that you could use to stitch a Solar T-shirt that can be washed etc.  It takes around 5-10 years for these technologies to make it from R&D to commercialization; hopefully Lumos will lead this shift and hopefully be the first to take advantage of the wearable technology revolution as well.

 

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