Wear Smart - When Fashion & Tech Meet in Wearables 2.0
We wear design and fashion everyday - be it clothes, a wristwatch, backpack or a ring. We choose things we wear based on how they look, feel and fulfill their purpose. We don’t think tech that many times when putting on a shirt or trying out new sneakers. That’s how smart fashion of the future should work too. You’d wear hi-tech without thinking about it. Below some musings inspired by the last week’s SF Fashion + Tech meetup.
Last Monday we had a chance to peek into our Wearable Futures. Sonny Vu from Misfit Wearables talked about the next-generation smart fashion and also gave us a quick peek into the makings of their latest product Shine. He went quickly through the brief history and present of “fittech” and “healthtech” expanding it to the evolution through wearables 1.0 to wearables 2.0.
According to Sonny, we are still living in the era of wearables 1.0. He used today’s various personal tracking products and apps as an example. Many of them are still quite obtrusive and hard to use. They make you to adapt to them, not the other way around. Also, we still think smart fashion as something we’ve seen in a Tron movie. People wearing smart fashion look like they are wearing “smart fashion”, wearables being like some sort of bulky exoskeletons. What about Google Glass?
Today’s technological development has given us means to hide technology, make it ubiquitously part of the fabrics and other materials. In wearables 2.0 technology will be embedded in a way that there’s no need to compromise on comfort or style. We’ll be able to create well-designed fashion products that are silently and invisibly smart.
Sonny used their Shine as an example. Shine is a tiny disc-shaped personal tracker that one can wear in multiple ways. People are using it as an earring, necklace or by attaching it into their shoe. However you wear it, Shine promises to collect data about your activities.
Self-tracking and personal data are currently extremely hot topics across multiple industries. Tech industry is thinking hard how to turn data into something valuable in the digital products. Sonny pointed out that personal data could also create new business opportunities for smart wearable entrepreneurs. Very important yet largely unanswered question was thrown in the air:
How personal data could be used in developing new business models for (smart) fashion industry?
One way to bring smart fashion and technology together is to use our personal data to create customizable and adaptive wearables. Does technology already allow this? Is it because of technological restrictions that we are yet to see a shirt that detects your body temperature/pulse and reacts to that immeadiately making you feel more comfortable? And most importantly, without you needing to do anything but to look great.
Let me know about interesting projects that are uniting fashion and tech. Looking forward to the next wave of smart wearables. Jarno M.
(upper image: Misfit Wearables)