How Brands can Drive Sales with Innovative Textiles

As consumers become increasingly proactive and sophisticated when it comes to their health, they are more interested in purchasing wearable technology than ever before. Thanks to minimally invasive wearable accessories, people can keep a close eye on every aspect of their health, including sleep optimization, heart rate, oxygenation, and more.

However, monitoring only goes so far. To truly achieve optimal health, people typically need to take action, in the form of a positive lifestyle shift or behavior change, to create physiological improvements that impact the metrics we monitor. The call to action for people (and brands) is how to support these changes in the least inhibitive manner. 

Brands and consumers alike can create change by investing in textiles that offer inherent physiological benefits. Today’s “smart” fabrics can create a more comfortable sleep environment, adjust to temperature changes or even change color based on environmental factors — making the wearer’s experience highly personalized. This fusion of technology and textiles transforms clothing from a mere fashion statement to a functional tool that caters to consumers’ health, comfort and aesthetic tastes.

The Future of Smart Textiles is Here

“Smart textiles” have historically been known as textiles that contain electronic components such as sensors to help the wearer monitor their health metrics. As smart textiles evolve, one particularly ingenious phenomenon is that of “bio-responsive textiles,” which actually interact with the environment and the wearer. Rather than simply monitoring their physiological state, the bio-responsive textiles can adapt to it.


Early iterations included textiles that changed colors based on body heat, but as the field grows, exciting strides are being made — for example, textiles that can provide health and wellness benefits or special wound-dressing fabrics that improve healing. There is tremendous opportunity for global apparel brands (think Nike or Tommy Hilfiger) that are no strangers to implementing the latest technologies into their offerings to leverage a combination of smart textiles and bio-responsive textiles to help consumers not only monitor but improve their biomarkers.

For the fashion audience, this burgeoning field offers a world of new opportunities. The fashion industry is historically fixated on remaining on the innovative side of new developments, and tastemakers or early adopters seek out brands that add value in this regard to introduce them to something new. Exploring these new types of textile innovations allows brands to stand out in a saturated market, by leveraging responsive fabric technology and employing a perspective on innovations that benefit the customer.

Additionally, innovation reaches beyond just technological implementations, which offer brands more points of interest to excite customers. These textiles can be made, for example, with materials designed to offer enhanced durability — all intended to meet the growing consumer demand for longevity and value. In an ever-changing world where brands face fierce competition, they can set themselves apart by providing customers with solutions to support healthy lifestyle changes.

Exploring Textile Innovations to Drive Sales

Brands seeking to leverage bio-responsive textiles to drive sales and attract new consumers can reap manifold benefits. One standout example is in the athletic wear space, where the average consumer is constantly searching for new ways to maximize physical performance and accelerate recovery. This presents the opportunity for new product categories (often at higher retail price points) by offering products that go beyond basic functions to actively enhance the wearer’s health.

Brands catering to a tech-savvy consumer base can underscore another value proposition to their customers: the clothes they wear could increase the accuracy of their device. Researchers found that embedding metamaterials into clothing improved the signal strength between wearable electronic devices. This includes smartwatches and other health monitoring products, as well as medical devices prescribed by doctors to track insulin, blood sugar and other critical biomarkers of health.

Other brands have successfully incorporated bio-responsive technology to enhance the consumer experience and justify a price hike. For example, KT Tape, a brand of sports therapeutic kinesiology tape designed to support muscles, tendons and ligaments, raised its highest price point by about 25% after incorporating responsive textiles into its offerings, further supporting the fact that consumers are willing to spend more for health-boosting textile innovations.

Tech enthusiasts aren’t the only audience that these textiles appeal to. By investing in these innovations, brands can showcase their commitment to addressing global challenges by appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. Recycled and eco-friendly textiles can be engineered to perform as smart and bio-responsive textiles, which may improve durability. This synergy aligns with the values of a growing demographic that prioritizes sustainability and innovation – and since these types of textiles can deliver both, why not lean in?

Finally, the applications for smart textiles reach beyond direct-to-consumer sales, which could enable brands to reach untapped sales channels. As MIT researchers found, the technology that creates these innovative textiles can also be leveraged in healthcare and rehabilitation settings, meaning there’s an opportunity to partner with and sell to organizations as well as consumers. Brands looking to expand will find excellent advantages here.

As consumers balance their desires for real-time data with their ability to positively influence that data beyond diet, exercise and sleep, the next innovation will be in the actual materials they use to perform at their best. The next generation of smart and bio-responsive textiles has emerged as ideal solutions. Brands, in turn, can take advantage of growing consumer interest and develop new types of apparel that maximize performance, corporate responsibility and increased profits.

Seth Casden is the CEO and Co-founder of Hologenix, a materials science company dedicated to developing products that amplify human potential, including its flagship innovation CELLIANT®. In 2021, Hologenix was named to the Inc. 5000 of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S. for the third year in a row. An industry thought leader, triathlete and world traveler, Casden is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has been interviewed by, and authored content for, top-tier media publications such as Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Success, Fast Company and Thrive Global. Before founding Hologenix in 2002, Casden worked in private equity. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. His mission is to bring the benefits of infrared into the everyday fabric of our lives and spaces.

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