Fashion has always had a love affair with Innovation. In fact, a recent exhibit at The Museum at FIT reminded visitors that the humble zipper was once considered cutting edge technology. But other than advances in construction (velcro, anyone?) or textile design (digital prints, even 3D printed clothing), most of the Fashion Tech Collaborations have been little more than “gee whiz” gimmicks. For example, would YOU like to wear a dress that becomes see through when you are aroused? Is this supposed to be a time saver? The Intimacy 2.0 Dress was designed to do just that. No. Just no.
Recently, however, a few companies have begun figuring out ways that fashion can help transport their gadgetry into wearable tech. The most famous and perhaps controversial of these is Google Glass, which even the venerable Diane Von Furstenburg looked silly wearing at her latest runway show. No amount of style could overcome what is simply an unattractive pair of glasses that happen to invade privacy. (Google has since been working with über stylish eyewear manufacturer Luxottica in hopes to improve the appearance). Epiphany Eyewear seems to have thrown its hat in the ring by taking advantage of the geeky glasses trend, made popular by Hipsters, JCrew (don’t tell the hipsters), and online eyewear companies like Warby Parker. Epiphany designed a monstrous pair of Elvis Costello type frames that have an HD camera and tons of cloud storage inside. It seems to be marketed as more of a hands free video camera than an information sharer, but you can do that too, if you log in with Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Instagram.
Many of the companies embarking on wearable tech are doing so in the fitness arena. Fitbit is launching a collaboration with Tory Burch, to better encapsulate their tiny step counter, presumably in gold “T” logos. Lumo Lift is a lapel pin you can hide or proudly display that buzzes when you slouch. A modern-day Grandma. Sit up straight! (It also counts steps, logs calories, and rewards you for shoulders back, head high).
Cuff is designing jewelry that allows you to alert your “safety circle” if you are in danger — great for runners, children, and the elderly. There are cuff necklaces and bracelets, with several different style options. Perhaps the best thing that it can do is alert your spouse that you’d like to leave a boring party, or be saved in a conversation. Just a descreet tap of the wrist, et voila!
My trendslation? I think if you are an avid fitness enthusiast, or videographer, some of these wearable gadgets will enhance your life, but not your outfit. And until Lululemon creates a yoga pant that does yoga FOR my ass, I’ll stick with a simple accessory. There are several on the market but my favorite, the Mighty Purse (really, the names are awful) is a small stylish clutch will CHARGE your smartphone while it carries it. Useful, elegant, simple.