04:36 GMT27 February 2021
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    The fashion industry is urging lawmakers to help with cybersecurity, but not hinder development of technology used in networked clothing by overly regulating federal policies.

    According to the Fashion Innovation Alliance (FIA) an industry trade group, internet-connected clothing is a potential 260-billion-dollar industry, and they worry creativity could be stifled and limited by inappropriate government regulation, but are also concerned about cybersecurity.

    “The Fashion Innovation Alliance values the privacy of the consumers using fashion tech products and services, and we recommend that any new policies governing IoT (Internet of Things) create an environment that supports and advances the ever-growing fashion tech industry without limiting innovation,” Kenya N. Wiley, founder of the Fashion Innovation Alliance, said in a letter to Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant commerce secretary for communications and information.

    The group is lobbying for the creation of a research and development hub for fashion tech in the IoT, patterned after the Pentagon-funded Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Hub, NextGov reported.

    “While intellectual property protection is vital to the success of any fashion tech company, building a culture with sound privacy and cybersecurity policies is also important to the success and long-term growth of both emerging and established fashion tech businesses. For these reasons, the FIA recommends that IP protection, privacy, and cybersecurity be the largest focus of the IoT innovation center,” the letter stated.

    Fashion and technology have been colliding at an increasing pace, with celebrities during a Met Gala and models at fashion week events draped in internet-connected fabrics that can do a number of things, including react to social media or change to fit the wearer's’ mood.

    "Many fashion tech entrepreneurs and organizations have designed and launched smart apparel and accessories to not only help push humanity forward, but also to help make consumers’ lives more efficient, enjoyable and overall more productive," Wiley told NextGov.


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