Making Dumb Clothing Smart — with Janett Martinez of Loomia

If you take the apparel industry and strip away all of the noise, you’ll find a company called Loomia trying reinvent the very foundation of how industry interacts with technology.
 
And you’ll find Loomia CEO Janett Martinez detailing her vision for the future of clothing.
 
“People don’t want to be aware of their technology. If you think about the success of the iPhone, it’s very effortless. It doesn’t interfere with your life or create any significant new habits,” she said on the 29th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. “You have very fashion oriented people who understand that desire, but don’t really have the skills.”

That’s where Loomia comes in. The brainchild of Madison Maxey, a designer and 2013 Thiel Fellow, Loomia is one of the leaders in a wearable and integrated technology space that is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Maxey herself has been named a Forbes 30 under 30 and worked with everyone from the White House to Google.

Some of the company’s more notable innovations are a LED dress project with designer Zac Posen and a heated jacket that uses textile circuitry.

But as Martinez points out, fashion and technology have long been on opposite ends of the professional spectrum. Loomia is helping to bridge that divide as it build out a slew of technologies and materials that seamlessly integrate form and function.

“We saw an opportunity to create fabric-based solutions that solves the designer’s problem, they can just sew this in and add a functionality, and also solve problems for the manufactures because they don’t have to become PCV experts or electricians to be able to assemble this because it’s fabric-based,” she said.

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Loomia’s wearable textiles are the heartbeat of the company and where Martinez sees their competitive advantage within the industry. This kind of smart fashion makes technology a less obvious part of everyday life and allows people to “disconnect” from their phones, computers and apps.

Not only does Loomia diminish the role of technology in our lives while simultaneously taking advantage of its capability, but also it makes it easier for apparel manufacturers to engage with wearable technology.

“What they receive from us is an insulated pre-patterned element,” Martinez said. “Those have fabric leads that connect to the battery pack. The factory can sew that in. We’re going to be cutting, processing and insulating it. What they receive is something where they only need to follow a tech pack. It’s very similar to garment assembly.”

By recognizing that wearable technology is an intimidating space for clothing manufacturers to enter into, Martinez said that Loomia has been able to make inroads without sacrificing the quality of their product.

And now they’re ready to show what they can do.

“We’re really excited to collaborate with a major brand partner and bring these cases to market in these smaller runs to see market reactions,” she said. “The dream is that everyone’s got a Loomia garment…and that’s kind of the standard.”