A United Kingdom-based start-up could have the answer to all your winter-wardrobe woes.
In the late 1990s, long before wearable tech became an industry buzzword, and while Beirut-born Rana Nakhal Solset was still at university in Canada, she wrote a paper outlining her intentions to open a tech-clothing shop.
“The idea of technology in fashion was already interesting to me, before Google was created,” says Solset, who has worked at Elle, Tatler and Wallpaper.
Earlier this year, Solset and her husband, Thomas, debuted their luxury wearable-tech label, Emel and Aris, with a collection of beautifully tailored coats that are fitted with an intelligent heating technology.
The collection, which is made in Europe and consists of a cotton trench coat and cashmere-blend wrap coat for women, and a three-quarter length cotton raincoat and cashmere-blend overcoat for men, offers the best of both worlds: quality fabrics, made in Italy by Loro Piana, and a revolutionary heating technology that uses a lightweight, inert polymer, instead of wires.
The technology produces far infrared, or FIR, heat technology, which, as well as keeping you warm, is known to have health benefits – it is absorbed into the skin and heats up the muscles, improving blood flow, which in turn can boost the immune system and provide pain relief.
The fabrics have also been treated with Loro Piana’s patented Storm System to make them water-repellent and windproof.
The emitters are found on the shoulders, sides and lower back, and will keep the coat warm for up to nine hours. The heating system is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery or power bank, which is smaller than an iPhone and sits within a hidden pocket in the coat.
It also has a USB connection, which means you can charge your phone while you’re on the go. There are three heat settings and everything is controlled by a single button on the battery.
The duo launched a Kick-starter campaign in March, raising more than £100,000 (Dh482,500) to develop their idea further.
The brand began taking orders in July via its website, with deliveries beginning this month. The coats are priced at £1,195 (Dh5,670) for the women’s trench and £1,295 (Dh6,250) for the men’s raincoat.
The concept is already striking a chord with consumers in the UAE, Solset notes. “We pre-sold a few in the UAE as it’s the perfect travel companion for people who live in warm countries, but travel to different places with variable weather.”
So what other ingenious ideas can we expect from this exciting new brand? “The market potential is huge and the applications of the technology so varied that we’re not short on ideas, but we can’t share them just yet. We want to create a luxury lifestyle brand that incorporates life-enhancing, state-of-the-art technology. Always beautiful, always functional.”
We can’t wait.