If you are into trends and fashion and are not concerned about the pitfalls associated with this type of technology, go for Inlighten's Fiber Optic Jacket!
- Novel idea
- Fun at music events, nightclubs and bars
- Great for nighttime gatherings
- Statement piece
- Poor fit
- Uncomfortable material
- External power units add extra step
- App is buggy
- May lose appeal quickly
- Fiber optics may not be durable in the long-term
Have you ever been at a nightclub, bar, concert or other musical event, feeling the music pour into your body, and wanted to share that experience with everyone in the general vicinity? While wearable, light-up sound-responsive technology is nothing new (look at the World of Color ears Disneyland has sold as a interactive aspect of the Disney California Adventure nighttime show). As the 2019 Nightclub & Bar Show has recently concluded, let’s take a look at Inlighten Fiber Optic Jacket and the implications it is carrying for nighttime music performance and fashion.
Designed with fiber optics woven into the fabric, Inlighten jackets are designed with two connecting points for included battery packs to plug into. When paired with the companion Inlighten app, you are able to control the color of the jacket, the flashing pattern of the colors, and whether the jacket responds to music on your phone or ambient music. An interactive statement piece, the Inlighten Jacket seems to be attempting to integrate into the nightlife scene and events such as raves.
Let me preface this review by saying I really wanted to like this jacket. I have always loved quirky items such as boombox bags and license plate purses and clear plastic accessories. This seemed like the perfect fashion item to wear out at places like Las Vegas, Disneyland, or at a number of concerts. However, among a number of concerns, the main points are as follows:
1. The Fit: I have talked about my size in previous articles, but just to clarify, I am not a small woman. I’m 5’7″ with very large shoulders, and this jacket simply would not fit across my shoulders. I had a friend (smaller than me) try the jacket on, and although it fit her well, she commented that the jacket wasn’t comfortable to wear. The material is scratchy and seems to forsake comfort for novelty. Obviously, this isn’t something new with novelty fashion pieces (hello jelly sandals), but I value jackets because I am constantly cold and in this case, the fun lights wouldn’t be enough to distract me from the cold.
2. The App: By far, the biggest let-down of the Inlighten system was the app. I cannot speak to the Apple version of the app, but operating on my Pixel 2Xl (Android), the app consistently force quit and froze during operation. Additionally, there were a number of times where the app failed to communicate with the jacket and I ended up having to shut down the app anyways. I, of course, know that new apps are often tricky and need to continue working on operation and bugs. However, this is a non-essential product and I personally wouldn’t pay for this system as it is right now.
3. The Power: The Inlighten Jacket, as previously mentioned, is powered through two battery packs that the jacket plugs into through the lining. Listen, I love power accessories more than anyone I know, but I also acknowledge that it is a pain in the butt to charge your phone, your tablet, your laptop, your E-Reader, your headphones – the list is long. Adding the power packs for your jacket to the lineup seems excessive and a great way to ensure that you’ll never be able to use this jacket as intended.
4. The End Product: As I said, I love novelty items – items that have a party trick. I wanted to live like Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century with all her cool tech, and I did my best. You could find me in high school with a boombox tote that played music or other cool accessories. However, as it is bound to happen, trends faded out. I stopped using my tote and other tech fashion items because they just lost their appeal. This jacket is cool in theory, but in my experience, after the first time I used it — it ceased to retain the appeal of my first-time use. You have to make sure it doesn’t go off in the dark and that both sides of the jacket are functional. There’s also the worry of the fibers dying out in the future.
Overall, if you are into trends and fashion and are not concerned about the pitfalls associated with this type of technology, go for it. If you’re hoping to capitalize on the marketed technology, the Inlighten Jacket (as it is) can still be an enjoyable novelty. Hopefully the jacket is just dealing with any initial release issues and will work the bugs out in future updates and designs.
Disclosure of Material Connection: YBLTV Writer / Reviewer, Katie Hernandez received Inlighten from Inlighten in consideration for a product review.