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FEATURE

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The Wearable Techs Wave: Freak Out or Embrace It? by Karen Wu

Technology and fashion fell in love with each other some time ago. We all remember when Diane Von Furstenberg introduced the Google Glass on her runway show. Now, following in her footsteps, the fashion industry has started introducing a variety of smart accessories and apparel that complement daily tasks while upgrading looks. Phone charging bracelets and shirts that measures your heart and stress rate…are we becoming robots or is this for the better? Let’s first talk about Ralph Lauren - a company that pioneered the smart apparel industry with the Polo Tech. It is a black sporty T-shirt that has bio-sensing silver fibers woven into it, making the magic happen. The T-shirt can track distance run, calories burned, heart rate, stress and much more. The best part is that it links to your smartphone or tablet. However the issue that comes with the Polo Tech is whether it is going to weigh on the player. The shirt debuted at the past U.S. Open Tennis Championship and was worn by Marcus Giron. “Our goal is to create and reflect the ultimate lifestyle, and we believe that a healthy and active life is an essential part of that. Ralph Lauren is excited to help lead the industry in wearable technology in this ever-evolving, modern world,” says David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and communications, in a Ralph Lauren press release.

In addition to that, if you are always forgetting your phone charger Minkoff also came up with a leather strap bracelet that hides a USB and iPhone charger in a clasp. The leather strap will cost $60 and the studded, light-up bracelet will be $120. iPhone users that suffer from the chronic low-battery issue have had to wait until this month, as they’re now selling in stores. Tory Burch is another designer that cannot be missed when discussing wearable tech. She transformed what was not very attractive into a fancier, gold and very Tory Burch accessory. Burch teamed up with FitBit, a company that produces smart rubber wristbands that track every movement (every calorie, every minute you sleep, etc.), to create metal, fashionable bracelets and necklaces. Before, FitBit wristbands came in unappealing colors and often attracted the “what is that on your wrist?” question. Now the consumer can easily track their movements in a sophisticated style. The cost varies from $175 to $195 and are available

Photo courtesy of ralphlauren.com

only for pre-orders. Shifting from apparel to accessories, designer Rebecca Minkoff also chose to invest in the wearable tech sector by creating beautiful, chic studded bracelets that can actually connect with your phone via Bluetooth. These bracelets warn the wearer of new messages or calls by just lighting up. Minkoff told InStyle, “As a woman, I understand the stigma that goes along with having my phone out at a dinner or meeting, but the fact is that I still need to be tapped in to a few people no matter what. I designed the notification bracelet with the working professional woman in mind.”

REBECCA MINKOFF, IPHONE CHARGER BRACELET

Photo courtesy of instyle.com

Mentioned earlier, Google Glass falls into this category as well. This past June, DVF launched new shades (non-sunglasses) at net-a-porter.com, incorporating Google Glass. The mini computer is placed on the corner of the shades and incorporates the technology of the Google platform. Though DVF’s new shades bring you Google technology with a chic twist, they are still very controversial due to the apps that are being developed for it. One example is NameTag, a facial recognition app developed by FacialNetwork.com. According to Forbes, this app basically

DVF, GOOGLE GLASS

Photo courtesy of netaporter.com

“THE IDEA OF TECHNOLOGY INVADING OUR CLOSETS IS STILL NEW - AND NOT EVERYONE LIKES IT. “ gives strangers personal information about any person they encounter. The idea of technology invading our closets is still new - and not everyone likes it. Ken Downing, fashion director and senior vice-president at Neiman Marcus, told the Daily Mail, “Technology is what’s moving fashion forward.” However Carine Roitfeld, global fashion director at Harper’s Bazaar, hosted a panel on September 6 with Samsung titled “Tech x Fashion Talk” and made it clear that she is not fond of this new wearable technology wave. “The problem with technology is it’s a bit cold. It’s a bit sharp,” said Roitfeld. Pointing at the the Swarovski crystal Samsung Gear S Smartwatch, she said, “I’m not sure I would like to wear the bracelet that you are wearing.” The wearable tech wave is definitely a great advance for both industries. It is just in the beginning stage and as any innovative idea, it takes time to be accepted and blended into lifestyles. “It’s just a new technological cycle where gadgets are becoming adjusted to consumers needs and wants,” said Anne Lima, an Advertising and Marketing Communications major. Consumers can wait for many new, interesting and smart gadgets to come in the next few years and only then will we will find out if they are here to stay.

TORY BURCH, FITBIT COVER

Photo courtesy of toryburch.com

November 2014: The Innovation Issue  

Fashion Institute of Technology's Official Newspaper

November 2014: The Innovation Issue  

Fashion Institute of Technology's Official Newspaper

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