OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Moona Khan

    Fashion Tech Wearables

    Fashion tech wearables are clothing, accessories, and devices that incorporate technology with convenient features and functions while being aesthetically pleasing and stylish. Wearable technology is going beyond the usual fitness trackers and smartwatches that consumers are accustomed to.  Tech wearables are being incorporated into more and more apparels, textiles, and devices including clothing, jewelry, headgear, footwear, etc. Companies such as Apple, Pebble, Adidas, Nike, Samsung and Fujitsu have fully jumped on the fashion tech bandwagon. At the same time high end fashion labels such Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren and Rebecca Minkoff are teaming with high tech gadget companies to bring a fusion of fashion and tech to this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion week. The tables have turned as Silicon Valley is glamorizing geek and taking away that the idea that fashion is imposed on us by designers and celebrities only.

    The history of wearables dates back to the 1970’s when the pioneering calculator watch was introduced to the world by Pulsar. However, modern day wearables have far surpassed the functions of a simple calculator and processing of information by being more resourceful and innovative.  Calculator watches have evolved into more powerful smartwatches that carry some of the same features and functions as the smartphone. Although it cannot replace the smartphone, it is the ideal complimentary device that adds convenience to our daily routine.

    Pop culture and technology have long since held a close relationship. In the 1985 John Hughes classic, The Breakfast Club, lead character Brian Johnson played by Anthony Michael Hall can be seen wearing a Casio calculator watch. And in the Back to the Future series, Marty McFly is seen with the popular smartwatch as well.

    The market for wearable computing solutions is emerging and ripe for companies to lead and innovate in this domain. According to IDTechEx , a UK based research group, “the market for wearable technology will reach $70 billion by 2024.”

    Fashion has always been profoundly influenced by the pace of innovation in technology. Here is a look at some of the latest haute tech trends in the fashion market.

    The highlight of this year’s New York Fashion Week will not only be the latest couture styles. Wearable accessories are expected to be a big hit with designers such as Rebecca Minkoff and Ralph Lauren jumping on the wearable fashion bandwagon.

    Minkoff will be bringing her new jewelry line to fashion week that is set to combine eye pleasing aesthetics with innovative technology. Recognized for her high end designs, Rebecca has teamed with Case-Mate to introduce a line of luxury wearable technology products including a smart call notification bracelet that connects to your smartphone by Bluetooth.  Designed for the working woman, the gold link bracelet discretely alerts you to calls and texts from contacts you prefer. In addition to the call notification bracelet, Rebecca is also offering luxury mobile chargers and a lightning cable bracelet that can be used to charge and sync your phone anywhere. The call notification bracelet and charging bracelet will be available to consumers in November 2015 and will retail for $120 and $60 respectively.

    Ralph Lauren unveiled the Polo Tech Shirt that records real-time biometric statistics to your smartphone or tablet during the 2014 US Open. This high tech product was designed to allow users to improve personal fitness and health. Bio sensors are stitched into the compression shirt that allows for tracking of physiological data while conforming to the user like a second skin. Lauren worked with OMsignal, a Canadian based wellness and fitness technology company that aims to “develop products and applications to help people live a fitter, healthier and happier life.”

    From designer Tony Burch comes three Fitbit pieces where “fashion meets fitness”. Compatible with all Fitbit devices the Metal Hinged Bracelet, Metal Fret Pendant and Silicone Bracelet are designed to subtly hold the Fitbit Flex tracker that examines your fitness and sleep patterns.

    Since launching in 2004, CuteCircuit, has been pushing the limits of wearable technology.  Based in London UK, the internationally known fashion house has presented various tech clothing items to the world. Led by CEO Ryan Genz and Creative Director Francesca Rosella, CuteCircuit uses micro-electronics and innovative textiles in their creations that are designed using their Patent Pending technologies. Celebrities including Katy Perry and Nicole Scherzinger have debuted unique pieces from their collections. Perry donned an exclusive white chiffon and organza light up dress during her appearance on The Voice in Germany.

    The convergence of the fashion and technology industry has just begun. High end fashion labels have recently begun to understand the needs and wants of consumers when it comes to technology companies. At the same time, major tech companies are finally understanding that no matter how convenient or functional their product is, consumers crave the devices and apparel that are sleek and shiny.

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