Phone Frock Latest In Mobile Fashion Merchandising

A London fashion design company has created a dress that doubles as a cell phone. Or is it a phone that doubles as a dress?

Regardless, CuteCircuit hopes to corner the market on people who have much trouble answering their phones before the caller is directed to voicemail. The black, longsleeved, knee-length M-dress has a SIM card and an antenna embedded within. To answer the phone, the wearer lifts her wrist up to her ear. To hang up, she drops her arm down again.

Think of the mobile fashion merchandising possibilities! Well, there aren’t really many, at least not in the M-dress’ current form. The phone frock only allows one pre-programmed number, with no apparent keyboard or screen with which the wearer can engage in any activity other than talking. Although I’m thinking that so few people will buy these, due either to practicality or to price (it will cost the same as both a phone and a dress, the company has said), it may be easy for a clothing designer to gather all M-dress phone numbers and launch voice campaigns inviting them to, say, a trunk show or sample sale or another exclusive event.

To be sure, the London fashion firm is just the latest company that has tried since the early 2000s to blend textiles and technology. There was even a joint effort, between a solar company and a cloth maker, to create clothes that could power cell phones indefinitely.

But CuteCircuit seems serious about incorporating mobile technology into clothing. For example, its Hug Shirt can receive an SMS-like message from a loved with with a cell phone–contracting around the wearer  and warming up to body temperature as if it was a person really hugging her. I can imagine promoters of celebrities jumping on this, offering hugs from a fan’s favorite actor, athlete, or musician. But ick, what if some strange or unsavory person sends you a hug unexpectedly?