Fashion and #wearabletech are not easy partners … yet
It’s not the easiest combination in the world – take geeky wearable technology and try to blend it with high fashion. What you get so far is a cliché.
Get ready for that to change – there are designers around the world waking up to the new possibilities that wearable technology is bringing to the design studio, as fashion technologist Syuzi Pakhchyan outlined in her presentation at WearableTech Expo in Los Angeles.
Syuzi certainly ruffled a few techhie feathers when she described the current generation of wearables as being a long way from fashionable and therefore largely irrelevant to fashion companies. +1 to that from me.
To succeed, WT companies must think more about how they can build emotional connections to consumers instead of simply offering design for the sake of it, Syuzi told the audience – which was around 90 percent male.
And this means thinking about form-over-function much earlier in the process, to build wearable devices that are as visually appealing to the mass market as they are technically appealing to geekier buyers.
Later in the day, in a session on wearable technology in the entertainment industry, Netherlands-based designer Anouk Wipprecht talked about how “technology needs to crawl closer to the skin” to succeed.
The WearableTech Conference has put together an eclectic combination of people – a financial analyst on stage next to a fashion designer. From a financial perspective, futurist Heather Schlegel suggested that payment technology could be built into smart garments – for example by embedding RFID or NFC chips. Meanwhile a session focused on WT in the entertainment industry – very appropriate for an event taking place on the doorstep of movie giant Universal Studios – explored how technology is used to build special costumes for movies.
It is also possible that wearable technology will make the special effects costumes a bit more comfortable, speculated Mike Elizalde from Spectral Motion, one of the leading makeup and creature effects studios in Tinseltown.
Today, says Elizalde, getting kitted out with special effects costumes for filming is pretty demanding: “The people who wear this technology are incredibly resilient and … out of their minds because these suits are so hard to wear!”
#WearableTechcon this week may have helped bridge the gap between WT, fashion and the movies: “There’s things out that there we have only learned about today from being here…” said Elizalde.