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.
So looking forward to today’s network meeting about the digitalization of fashion, arranged by Swedish Fashion Council and Stockholm University among others. How to match the ever moving and competitive fashion industry with the long-sightedness and perseverance that the digitalization requires? Well, that sure is a great challenge, especially when it comes to creating new business models. There’s also a great need for innovation and new ways of thinking not only when it comes to business models, but the whole way the fashion industry is organized in everything from creation and production to cross-industry cooperations. Among the speakers today are Michael Andersson och Julia Krantz from Volumental, Rickard Lindqvist from Atacac and Jonas Larsson from The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås.
Photo cred: Ivyrevel’ s Data Dress, a great example of the change fashion currently is going through.
A self heating jacket enabled with metallic threads coated in solar cells, a cotton shirt that repels oil, wine and coffee thanks to nano-encapsulated technology and a headband designed to induce lucid dreams. Those are just a few of the objects at ”Fashion Hack”, an exhibition that opened yesterday, at concept store Colette in Paris. For one week the 10 prototypes embedded with various types of new technologies, and created by fashion designers, will be on display in the store. Much like the ”Fashion Hackathon” held in Stockholm last spring, the aim is to merge tech and fashion in a meaningful way. But perhaps with more focus on luxury and couture.
The curator of the event is Carole Sabas, a correspondent for French Vogue and author of The Fashion Guides series.
– In opposition to the ‘wearables’ category, these fashion accessories are first and foremost luxury goods, crafted as couture objects. Their invisible perks are limited to a few features: a surprising comfort (re-engineered soles) or stunning experience (self-heating sheer fabric, enhanced listening…) No biometrics will be measured, no apps will be downloaded. Seamlessly merged with fashion, the tech factor is an inconspicuous bonus. A secret layer of convenience, second to fashion, she says to Fashion and Mash.
Like me, Sabas is frustrated about the lack of innovation in the fashion tech field at for instance this years CES.
– I couldn’t believe that I was seeing the same umbrellas that buzz you if it’s going to rain, rings that blink when you receive texts and belt that text you if you’re on the verge of eating too much, she said.
– The idea is to suggest to tech start-ups to collaborate with fashion designers if their intention is to target luxury stores alongside electronic retailing. It also invites fashion houses to reach out to tech people, in order to get ready for things like the wireless charging bags, smart eyeglasses, high heels 2:0, connected jackets and jewellery and other ‘hearables’ coming their way in a couple of seasons.
Photo cred: The Dream Band by Erik Halley and Luciding for Fashion Hack at Collete
So, CES 2017 just concluded a couple of days ago. And as exciting as the whole thing was, the reports on fashion tech related stuff has left me somewhat… blah. Apart from a few new models of smart glasses with AR features that I will get back to in another post, there seemed to be a lot of stuff we’ve seen many times before: like the occasional shoe that can change colors with the click of a button on your smart phone, LED-dresses, 3D-printed dresses, designer fitness trackers and so forth. Not that these gadgets are bad or anything. It’s just that when it comes to innovation and new products within the fashion tech area, I would have hoped for something more unexpected.
It’s like the industry has come to a halt when it comes to creativity and/or have failed to connect the the dots between the tech- and fashion industries.
Or is something else going on? I think so.
I have good reason to believe that the most exciting things are actually happening somewhere else right now. I think the focus within fashion tech has simply shifted from gadgets to services, for instance retail and payment, and also sizing, customization and individualization. And let’s not forget to mention the intriguing world of material development, where biotech companies are attempting to create leather out of mushrooms and silk out of spider web to mention a few.
In all of those areas there are actual, rather than constructed problems to solve.
And that’s exciting for real.
Beauty and function in one item, be it clothing or jewelry, is great. But the focus might be shifting from gadgets to services in the industry.
Photo credit: Screenshots from Electric Runway Youtube channel and CES Fashion Ware show.
Ah, så vackert när dåtid och nutid möts! Berlinbaserade fahsiontech-märket Electrocouture har skapat en LED-upplyst scarf med ett mönster som för tankarna till programmeringsgränssnitt, tillägnad den första programmeraren Ada Lovelace. Alltså inte den första kvinnliga programmeraren, utan den första programmeraren. Period. För er som inte känner till Ada Lovelace kan jag berätta att denna grevinna, tillika matematiker och författare, var djupt inblandad i den tiiiiidiga, tidiga datorn The Analytical Engine från 1837 och det var alltså till den hon skapade den första algoritmen tänkt att utföras av en maskin.
Snygg scarf också, om än inte så grevinnemässig.
Tech clothing dedicated to first computer programmer
Oh, how beautiful it is when the past meets the present! Berlin based Electrocouture has created an LED scarf with a programming interface print, dedicated to the first programmer ever, Ada Lovelace. And yes, that’s the first programmer, not the first female programmer, mind you. Fot those of you who don’t know of Ms Lovelace I can tell you that this countess/mathematician/writer was deeply involved in the oh so early computer The Analytical Engine from 1837, and it was to this thing she she created the very first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine.
Nice looking scarf too, although not so countess like.