When you get the opportunity to be part of something inspiring, you enjoy every moment of it. This was how I felt when I had the first conference call with a team of producers on their way to film a documentary about the future of clothing. Within minutes we began bouncing ideas and after half an hour it was clear that they would come to Herzogenaurach and meet some of the people working on the future of sportswear at adidas. This was when the fun began in earnest. One of the best parts of my job is that it enables me to always find a reason to meet people and find out what they are working on. From the future of football to the future of smart manufacturing and waste reduction. And when I took Einar, one of the producers, around the World of Sports campus and introduced him to some people we didn’t stop talking until he nearly missed his flight back to Stockholm.

The Next Black

Three weeks later he was back with a film crew to cover some of our stories for “The Next Black” – a very different sort of film from a marketing perspective, too. Initiated by AEG, the team was able to look for the stories they found most interesting. It offers a unique, holistic and very well-told take on trends and innovations in the clothing industry.

The future of sportswear at adidas

The launch of the project The Next Black.

The miCoach Team Elite System was one of the topics we discussed right from the start with the team, because when it comes to merging technology, fabric and data it is pushing the boundaries time and time again. We are proud that some of the best teams in the world, from AC Milan to the All Blacks, use it and help us to further develop it. Because, as Matt from the adidas BU Interactive says in “The Next Black”, “Sooner rather than later we will see more and more sensors in more and more clothes”. Transmitting data, from heart rate to acceleration, to a coach in almost real time is a true game changer in training and developing teams. We are also constantly looking for new ways to make technology wearable and adding value to athletes. You can find interviews with Klaus from our Innovation team as well as Matt here.

My colleague Matt on camera giving an interview.

When you are talking about the future of clothing, you need to talk about sustainable fabrication. Everybody in the industry is aware that we have a responsibility to find new ways to manufacture clothes, avoid waste and reduce the use of resources. This is where our partners at the Yeh Group come in. We have been working with them for the last few years, introducing DryDye to consumers. Their technology allows fabrics to be dyed without a single drop of water and saves up to 50% energy compared to traditional dyeing. Their work is also covered in “The Next Black” and you can find out more about DryDye here.

Klaus from the Innovation Team introduces the adidas innovation lab.

As said before, I think “The Next Black” is a very different sort of film from a marketing perspective. Although initiated by AEG, it doesn’t even feature a washing machine. But watching “The Next Black”, it became clear to me that if you talk about wearable technology, fabrics you brew like beer and 3-D printed dresses, maintenance and sustainability become innovation topics in themselves.

Now, watch the film!

With this, I encourage everyone to watch 40 eye-opening minutes about the future of clothing and would love to hear what you think the future has in store for us.

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by Mark Dennis 23.05.2014
Very exciting information. Will make me think more when I put a shirt on.
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by Matt Hymers 26.05.2014
It was great to be of this project, thanks for the opportunity to show off our system and all the hard work, Mark!
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