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Wearable tech the latest fashion trend

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JR Curley uses his Google Glass at the Manhattan Beach Pier, Calif., April 3, 2014. For all the controversy Glass has generated for its ability to take pictures or film video with simple gesture or voice command, Curley says the attention Glass gets on the streets of Los Angeles has been very positive. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

JR Curley uses his Google Glass at the Manhattan Beach Pier, Calif., April 3, 2014. For all the controversy Glass has generated for its ability to take pictures or film video with simple gesture or voice command, Curley says the attention Glass gets on the streets of Los Angeles has been very positive. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

It is said that design is where art and science break even, and this concept is taking center stage as fashion and technology become more intertwined.

Consumer technology has moved beyond the traditional phone and computer tablet and is pushing itself deeper into your closet. As a result, this new wearable tech is shaping the way consumers identify themselves. Fashion editors were recently invited to the launch of Apple’s Apple Watch, which is the latest high-tech watch to hit the market. Google Glass partnered with Diane von Furstenberg in June 2014 to sell Google Glass exclusively on net-a-porter.com declaring, “Technology is your best accessory.”

Technology is not only integrating itself beyond accessories, but into the very fabric as well. Alexander Wang premiered heat sensitive coats in February 2014 to great fanfare. The coats, which start off as a dull green-brown color become a shocking shade of green, yellow, purple or blue when exposed to heat.

And in a post-Snowden era where everyone is concerned about safeguarding their information from the NSA, the Australian company The Affair has a shirt that promises to make your phone untraceable. The front pocket of the shirt, called an UnPocket, works as a sort of fashionable Faraday cage with metal fabric woven into the canvas pocket. The UnPocket blocks cell, Wi-Fi, GPS and RFID signals because turning your phone off wouldn’t prevent the NSA from tracking you, as a phone installed with malware can still be used for surveillance.

It may seem as though technology is infringing itself upon the fashion world, but in reality the opposite is true. Clothing companies are realizing customers are more concerned with the latest gadget than they are with this season’s latest fashion. Designers are acknowledging this as an advantage, as clothing can serve a higher purpose beyond just covering our bodies.

Tommy Hilfiger partnered with solar power company Pvilion recently to create the fashion world’s first solar-powered coat. The limited edition coat has a battery pack built into its pockets, which is charged by the small solar panels on the back. Wearing the coat will allow anyone to charge his or her phone, tablet or any other USB-powered accessory. Ralph Lauren debuted a “polo tech shirt” at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, with a select few ball boys and players wearing the black nylon compression shirt during practice sessions.

OMsignal designed the technology aspect of the shirt with conductive threads in the shirt and a small snap on module that relays information to a Bluetooth-connected phone or tablet.  A stretchy band placed under the pectorals uses the conductive threads placed on the skin and relays heart rate and breathing data, via the snap-on module placed around the left rib cage. In addition there is an accelerometer and gyro meter to keep track of how many steps have been taken and calories burned.

According to Wired Magazine, David Lauren, the company’s executive vice-president of global advertising and marketing, said the first-generation shirt is a public showpiece for a new Polo lineup coming next spring.

What does this latest trend mean? As Coco Chanel once remarked, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only,” and fashion is inherently a reflection on societal trends and values. Instead of buying tech accessories and clothing from technology companies, it’s the fashion labels that are introducing technology into their designs.

Consumers are more familiar with big label brands, so unless the tech company is already big and popular (like Apple) it would be hard to introduce a sweeping product that everyone will want to have. But at the same time, consumers are obsessed with being plugged in and it’s becoming a fashion faux pas to have last year’s technology, according to a recent article by The New York Times.

As the upward trend in fashion-tech prevails, technology is heading in a direction where it will be integrated seamlessly, to a point where consumers won’t  even think twice about it. Smart fabrics, like the ones used in the Ralph Lauren or The Affair shirts, will become the norm as the ability to embed sensors and microprocessors becomes more advanced. But that’s what fashion is all about: being seamless, subtle and innovative.

Emma Sandler can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “Wearable tech the latest fashion trend”

  1. Richard on July 30th, 2015 5:56 am

    Nice blog, i really enjoy this post. keep it up Dear!

    Regard
    Knockinn | Latest technology gadgets

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