For centuries, the whole idea behind the jacket was to keep the wearer warm and comfortable. It was a functional garment, utilitarian and practical, meant to block out the cold and the wind, and nothing more. Eventually, fashion and design became a factor, and better aesthetics and materials were introduced; the look of jackets started to equal the garment’s original function. But now, in 2017, when smart functionality is the name of the game, and when every age-old item is ripe for a high tech upgrade, an ordinary jacket, no matter how good it may look, seems so…so old fashioned.
Enter Hallam, a piece of outerwear that’s being billed as the world’s most advanced smart jacket. This is the second iteration of the Hallam smart jacket, with the first one funded and shipped about a year ago. The current v2.0 is now making a huge splash in the crowdfunding world for both its aesthetics and its tremendous functionality, and pre-orders are currently through the roof. The Hallam New York jacket (or three jackets, actually, since there are three distinct cuts available) is a piece of smart clothing that seeks to change our outerwear paradigm and revolutionize how the ordinary jacket is meant to be worn and used. Let’s take a closer look.
The Hallam smart jacket comes in three distinct cuts: a comfortable hoodie, a cool looking varsity style jacket, and a more polished and professional wool coat. All three styles of the Hallam smart jacket may look like something you’d get off the rack at any clothing store, but they can perform a lot of smart functions: up to 29, in fact! For starters, every Hallam jacket can charge a smartphone in its own dedicated pocket, allow you to listen to audio via built-in earphones, keep your hands warm with built-in gloves, keep you safe thanks to an auto SOS call feature, and much more. Upgrade from the basic jacket, and you get more features.
For example, the smart and workout version of both the hoodie and varsity jackets have all of the above features, plus smartphone loss prevention, GPS tracking, push notifications, and controls for music, MacBooks, and iPads. Bump up to the travel version of the hoodie, varsity, or wool versions, and you get a built in keychain that can auto-share contacts, auto-dial the jacket owner, notify you if your valuables are taken, and even give you a child proximity alert. Plus, some of the higher end versions have safety LED flickers for improved visibility, a built in neck pillow and sleep shade, a ventilation zipper, and more.
Clearly, the functionality of the Hallam jackets is the big selling point. The company does make it a bit confusing with the eleven different iterations of its jacket: there are the basic, smart, workout, and travel versions of both the hoodie and the varsity jacket, plus the basic, smart, and travel versions of the wool jacket. However, if you spend some time looking at the features grid on the Hallam website, it’s easy enough to see exactly which specific features are included on each version of the jacket.
For all of their smart functionality and high tech features, the Hallam jacket looks, for all intents and purposes, like any ordinary jacket. It’s also a big plus that there are three distinct styles, as the company is able to appeal to the aesthetic preferences of a wide range of consumers. This may be one of the biggest reasons behind the company’s tremendous success in its current Kickstarter campaign as well — looking to bring in just $5000 USD by the end of January 2017, Hallam has, as of this writing, earned well over $450,000. That’s a tremendous success by any measure, and the style choice probably has a lot to do with it.
The Hallam jacket isn’t necessarily an easy one to own, however. For starters, there’s the inherent extra care you have to take with any wired device, and most consumers may not be used to treating their outerwear with such care. And then there’s the matter of cleaning your Hallam jacket. While all versions of the hoodie are thankfully machine washable, both the varsity jacket and the wool jacket must be dry cleaned. Are most dry cleaning businesses equipped to launder a smart garment like the Hallam jacket? We’ll find out soon enough.
Finally, one potential drawback of this project is that all versions of the Hallam jacket are sized for men. While women can certainly wear them (and are shown doing so in the company’s promotional video), there are no Hallam jackets cut for a woman’s body. However, the company has said that they are planning for women’s sizes in v3.0 of the Hallam smart jacket.
The Hallam Behind The Hallam
The company behind the Hallam smart jacket is HALLAM P NEW YORK. As the name implies, it’s out of New York (Manhattan, to be exact), and like many companies these days, it focuses on creating well designed products that integrate the latest technology in a useful and seamless way. The company has been around since September of 2014 — not a long time, but certainly long enough in the wearable tech world.
And the name Hallam isn’t a thoroughly made up moniker, either; it’s actually the name of the company’s founder and CEO, Hallam Park, an experienced designer who has been working on this smart jacket concept for several years. He also holds ten patents for his work, and his goal in design is always to minimize stress for the user. According the company website, “The motto of [Hallam Park’s] work has been to provide a happier, healthier, and more convenient life for people who are exhausted from living busy lives.” Certainly, the Hallam smart jacket fulfills this mission.
Coming This Spring to a Torso Near You
If a smart jacket sounds like the right piece of outerwear for you, pre-orders are currently being taken on the Hallam Kickstarter page. Incredibly, the pricing for early backers is surprisingly reasonable: the basic version of the hoodie, varsity, or wool jacket starts at just $99, and the travel versions max out at $299. You’ll definitely want to take advantage of these prices, too, as these jackets will sell for $199 to $499, depending on the style and functionality. The Kickstarter campaign is active until January 24, 2017, and all orders for backers are expected to ship in April of this year.