They both made tech look good on the wearer, while also helping to manage their electronic lives without having to pick up their phones. But now we have to say goodbye to two of the most promising wearable tech brands so far of the fashion tech era.
Ringly, founded in 2013 by Christina Mercando D’Avignon, sadly decided to exit the market just a little over a week ago. On the same day, WiseWear, founded by Jerry Wilmink and fronted by fashion icon Iris Apfel, filed for bankruptcy. Hopefully we’ll see new things from the creators of these brands in the future though.
Iris Apfel, wearing Wise Wear smart jewelry, with Wise Wear creator Jerry Wilmink.
The annual festival SXSW Interactive starts today and this year’s schedule looks exhaustive indeed. The fashion angle is present of course, and starting off today is a discussion about how AI is transforming luxury, fashion and beauty with reps from L’Oreal and Fashion Innovation Alliance among others.
Starting off tomorrow’s schedule, Erik Bang of H&M Foundation will participate in a panel discussion about biotech’s impact on fashion and on our planet. Discussion partners include Dan Widmaier from spider silk company Bolt Threads, Suzanne Lee from lab leather makers Modern Meadow and Rachel Arthur from innovation firm The Current Daily. Should be exciting!
Soon you’l be able to talk to Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, in more places than in the e-commerce giant’s own device Echo. Now the company has taken yet another step towards becoming a serious part of digital every day life, by letting other companies use Alexa in their products.
One of them is a pair of smart glasses manufactured by the small company Vuzix Corp that’s going to be showcased at CES2018 in Las Vegas this week. The Vuzix Blade, as the glasses are called, can communicate with the voice activated digital assistant and also show information like for instance maps, directions, social media feeds or sport scores in the wearer’s view field, according to Business of Fashion. This is not the only third-party company that uses Alexas communication skills. In October, Sonos released a smart speaker with Alexa’s system for music playing.
Fashion-wise, they do have a long way to go though. Looking like your typical movie theatre 3D glasses, this is not the product that’s going to popularize the smart glasses, I am sorry to say. But I guess we’ll just keep on waiting.
Screenshots of The Vuzix Blade smart glasses, powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice activated digital assistant.
As you know, the new year is already upon us, but for us tech nerds the real new year’s celebrations are still a few days away: On Tuesday, January 9, the annual Consumer Electronics Show 2018 is kicking off and we’re all anticipating what’s next in the world of AI, VR, AR, robotics, wearable tech and all that. I for one, am going to keep an extra eye open for the Fashionware Show, that will showcase high tech textiles, experimental fashion, VR and AR fashion experiences, AI Stylists and much, much more.
And of course there’s the Wearable Technology Summit, where experts from ELLE, Heisel, Fossil Group and Ashley Chloe is going to discuss how wearables are moving from geeky to fashion-forward. Still a much needed step if you ask me…
A host of other interesting brands and people are also making appearances, such as Dr Amanda Parkes from Fashion Tech Lab, speaking about textiles of the future and ELLE USA:s fashion tech editor Jenna Blaha, speaking about the wearable as a fashion statement. Stay tuned!
What’s next to replace our beloved smart phones? That has been an ongoing discussion for years among futurists, technologists and basically anyone who is interested in the future of our everyday tech. Ideas are constantly flying around, and one of the latest are one from the digital communications company and mobile network operator O2. Together with beauty brand Nails Inc, they have designed a prototype finger nail that doubles as a mobile phone. Using Bluetooth technology, the mobile device can be tucked away and in the meantime the user can answer the phone, play a song or redial the last number called, using just the nail. Nina Bibby of O2 shared this about the prototype:
– The way our customers interact with one another will change drastically in the next thirty years, and as a brand we’ll need to adapt to this. We are always looking ahead to the next developments in mobile and to be able to bridge the gap between fashion and tech is a really exciting challenge. People have been customising mobile phones for years, but this is the next step towards tech becoming part of how we decorate our bodies.
This actualizes the question about how tech is merging with our bodies; with AI getting closer and closer to what used to be confined to a human brain and the way machine learning has made Virtual Reality feel more real than ever before. Perhaps this prototype can appear a ”kinder”, more concrete version of the tech of the future. Easier to handle, and easier to adapt to.
Photo cred: O2
New Year’s Eve means it’s time to look back – and time to look forward.
And 2017 has sure been an exciting fashion tech year. This year we’ve seen the fashion industy moving forward and evolving with tech solutions at a completely new pace. With sustainability and effectiveness as key words, the industry has taken new steps towards making fashion a cleaner industry and shopping a simple and more enjoyable experience for the customers.
Stil & Teknik also had an exciting year, what with interacting with robots and getting the opportunity to speak in front of a bunch of future fashion technologists in Gothenburg, among other things. This year I also switched to English only on the blog, got a bunch of really interesting offers, and signed up with speaker agency Sveriges Talare.
On that note, I want to wish you all a really great 2018 and hope that you will stay tuned for more news and reflections from the fashion tech world on Stil & Teknik.
Happy New Year!!
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