A couple of weeks ago I was pondering if the smart watch might be having a comeback, considering the releases of several new ones in spite of recent years of dropping sales. And proof of that just keeps getting stronger. Just recently a new smart watch, that differs from most others, saw the light of day. The new collection from New York Standard Watch hasn’t just kept the traditional wristwatch look with the round watch face and the leather straps, but has actually skipped the whole touch screen altogether. Yes, no touch screen! How does that even work, you ask.
Well, they offer all the traditional notification and fitness tracking functions such as steps and calorie count, but display them on an analogue dashboard instead. It is actually kind of genius when you think about it.
Me and many others have long argued that a piece of wearable tech simply must be aesthetically pleasing for us to even consider putting it on. But being easy on the eye might actually not be enough to succeed. It might also need that hands on, analogue, three dimensional feel to really make it. That perfect merge between tradition and innovation, the just right mix of old and new.
I’m not saying NYSW has the final solution to this, but theirs is certainly an interesting step in that direction.
Photo credit: NYSW
Speaking of wearable tech, you have to check this out! British electronics company RS Components have put together this fun tool for predicting what kind of wearable tech innovations you’ll be likely to experience during your lifetime. Just enter your age and see for yourself. http://uk.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=future-of-wearables#
Wearables in general and smart watches in particular were hotter than hot in 2015. Just shy of two years later though, the situation had changed. By the end of 2016, smart watch sales dropped dramatically. And so many other things had emerged in the fashion tech area that seemed so much more interesting; the development of retail tech for instance. The age of the smart watch seemed to be over. Something that belonged to the infancy of this ever emerging innovation area. But you should never say never apparently.
Only in the past few weeks, at least two new smart watch models have emerged: This week Marc Jacobs released his Riley Hybrid watch with basic functions such as step counting, and just days before saw the launch of Tory Burch’s Tory track Hybrid, with activity and sleep tracking. And on top of that, Swedish watch brand Triwa recently got financing to build contactless payment services into watch straps.
What is going on??! Are we suddenly moving back in time?
No, more likely is that the broader market is finally ready for this product. While the early adopters have moved on to other things, people in general may have started to notice these little gadgets and the way they differentiate themselves from the more commonly used, sporty looking, fitness trackers. Style may actually have won an important victory here.
Marc Jacobs Riley Hybrid.
Tory Burch holiday 2017.
While waiting for ALL the bags of the entire world to get equipped with charging stations already (it should be the universal standard if you ask me), I have some good news. On November 1, Rebecca Minkoff is launching a tech travel luggage collection for pre-order. The suitcases in matte black polycarobonate are equipped with built-in power banks that can charge your smartphone up to four times. In addition, it can also charge multiple USB-C and USB connected devices at the same time. Other features include a ”Find me” alarm connected to an app, to track your bag if lost.
Bag makers of the world, take note.
Suitcase from the Rebecca Minkoff tech travel collection, with and without the additional personalization stickers.
Merging the benefits of online shopping with the benefits of the physical store is often described as a thing of the future. But here’s a very real example of today. Just a couple of days ago, a new tech infused Browns boutique opened up in London’s Shoreditch district. Like its sister store in London’s Mayfair, Browns East features design brands such as Balenciaga, Raf Simons and Gucci. But the most exciting thing is how Browns are now in the first stages of the Farfetched powered ”Store of the future” concept which will include for instance radio frequency stock tracking. If a customer can’t find an item in store, but finds it online, Browns East can deliver it to the store within 60 minutes. Via the Browns app, customers can tap to let the staff they’re in the store and want help, or opt out by clicking the ”do not disturb”-function. Need another size? Swipe the reflective screen on the smart mirror. When will we see something similar in Sweden? Yes, I’m looking at you @H&M.
Photo credit: Browns East
Ever heard of Twistron? If not, read on. Although it might sound like the latest attraction at the amusement park, it’s actually a new material that might take away the need for batteries in wearable tech clothing. Researchers at The University of Texas have come up with the material that consists of carbon nanotubes, which are flexible and hollow cylinders about 10 000 times thinner than human hair (!). These super thin cylinders have the ability to both generate and harvest energy, and thereby functioning as the energy source itself. Environmentally friendly as well as practical, as it seems. The material is still in research stage and need a few tweaks to work in a larger scale. But we’ll be waiting.
You probably know who designed the sweater you’re wearing. But do you know the farmer who contributed the wool, or the company who spun the yarn? Or the factory who knit the yarn into a fabric or the manufacturer who put the item together before it reached the store? Probably not.
Information like this is getting more and more important to provide the consumers, in an age of increasing interest in products produced in fair and sustainable ways. Now, the danish designer Martine Jarlgaard has teamed up with tech companies Provenance and A Transparent Company, and Fashion Innovation Agency to create a blockchain solution to make every part of the supply chain visible. The blockchain technology, that simply put is a chain of blocks each containing a transaction verified by a number of users, makes sure that every piece of information is correct. All the consumer has to do is use the Provenance app to scan a QR code in the product go get the information.
Martine Jarlgaard has proven before to be a friend of technology as a way to make fashion better. Last year she actually hosted the world’s first mixed reality fashion show. The audience, wearing clear Hololens mixed reality goggles, could experience the show that came to life as life size holograms and at the same time walk around and explore from all angles.