Levi’s and Google “connected” jacket wins Product Design Grand Prix at Cannes Lions

Levi's x Google
Levi's x Google's jacket's tap cuff function

Google’s wearable tech collaboration with Levi’s, the Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker jacket, scooped the Grand Prix for product design at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the South of France last night.

Created by Google Creative Labs in London and Levi’s the jacket, which is targeted at urban bike commuters, uses a touch-sensitive cuff and conductive yarns to connect wearers to their Android phones, so that by simply tapping the cuff wearers can access various kinds of information and functions (maps, estimated time of arrival etc) via an earpiece, choose to accept or reject calls and change their music. All of this can be done while the wearer remains focused on the road ahead.

The Commuter jacket is the first step to creating wearables that can communicate directly with “the cloud” negating the need for a phone. It has been in development for a year and is scheduled for release in beta form this autumn with a wider release planned for 2017.

Levi’s is the first brand to partner with Google on its Project Jacquard, which has developed the ability to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms. This has been made possible thanks to the development of new “conductive yarns” that combine metallic alloys with natural synthetic yarns such as cotton, silk and polyester.

The conductive yarns are attached to tiny electronic connectors and circuits that are discreetly embedded into garments. These miniature electronics can capture touch interactions and various gestures can be inferred through machine learning algorithms.

Cannes Lions are the most coveted prizes in the creative and advertising community. The event, which includes a thought-leadership programme as well as the various awards schemes, attracts world-class speakers. Yesterday American Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour delivered an address, which was introduced by Burberry CEO and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, in which she encouraged the fashion and advertising industry to be brave and disruptive and seek sincerity over size.