In the first of a two-part series, we outline how wearable technology developers are joining forces with the fashion industry to create devices that are very much on-trend.
More and more wearable tech has entered the marketplace and the public’s consciousness in the last year or so. There was even a task on the latest series of The Apprentice dedicated to the development of two wearable items.
This proliferation of wearable tech means consumers now have more choice than ever before. As a result, wearable tech developers have now started working with their counterparts in the fashion world to develop pieces that look increasingly stylish in the hope that this will persuade the consumer to buy their product over the competition. It is also hoped that the products developed by this partnership will be appealing enough to persuade the public as a whole to embrace wearable tech, rather than just the usual early adopters.
For example, when Google Glass was initially launched, the device was dismissed by many, who said it was something the public wouldn't want to be seen wearing. Google’s response was to partner with fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who then designed a range of DVF-branded glasses incorporating Google’s technological innovations.
Furthermore, Apple worked closely with the fashion world when developing all three versions of the Apple Watch, which has led to a visually striking product range. The perfect illustration of this is the Apple Watch Edition, which, has an 18-carat gold case encrusted with sapphire crystals. This is the version that the fashion industry really seems to have taken notice of – it even featured on the cover of Vogue China.
Tellingly, fashion designers are also going to the wearable tech industry to help them develop collections that integrate with technology. For example, Ralph Lauren unveiled the Polo Tech Shirt last summer, which uses sensors placed around the garment to collect the wearer’s biometric data during exercise before sending it to a smartphone app for analysis.
Fitness trackers have also become a popular accessory, although they do have a reputation for looking rather samey. Therefore, Fitbit partnering with the fashion designer Tory Burch is to be applauded, as their silicone bracelet now stands out from the competition. Furthermore, Fitbit’s partnership with Burch has also resulted in a brass bracelet tracker being added to the range in the hope of turning fitness trackers into an accessory that now resembles high-end jewellery.
What next for wearable tech products then? Some device manufacturers have clearly already recognised that making their offerings more fashionable will increase interest and thus sales. The rest then will surely follow in time, making it likely wearable technology will enter the mainstream even more in 2015 and beyond.
By Hannah Pym, Marketing Manager at Apadmi.
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