Blazers that navigate, watches with traffic reports and a handbags or clothing that charge your phone…fashion and technology are clearly having a moment. As much as I love the new Tory Burch x Fitbit collab or the trendsetting collab last year between Rebecca Minkoff and Stellé Audio Couture, there is more to this tech trend that meets the eye. In a world laden with tech-savvy possibility it is no surprise that creators of wearable technology have hooked up with the stylish in order to gain needs some much needed street cred.
For the first time in San Diego, a Wearables Workshop took place at the Horton Grand Theater and was hosted by none other than Fashion Week San Diego founder, Allison Andrews. The seminar featured a well rounded group including Andrews herself, designers, developers, authors and both fashion stylists and bloggers. Kyle Hjelmeseth from Wearable World made it clear that for wearable technology to stand a fighting chance, it needs to keep its standards high and really keep the collaborations elevated in terms of the brands they get in bed with.
While the panel had a wide range of experience and input, one message was unified and clear. Techies are just getting started with product development, but it is up to the creativity of the consumer to test the boundaries of what wearable tech can do. It’s almost like denim on denim, you have to find the right winning combinations otherwise it’s a total disaster. Daniel Obodovski, author of The Silent Intelligence alluded to this when he called those who wear Googles tech glasses “glassholes” in spite of having fashion phenom Diane Von Furstenberg create several styles.
Personally Star Trek looking glasses or an Apple Watch doesn’t really do it for me, I’m more excited about the Minkoff speaker clutch which is archaic in terms of the realm of possibility. Jack Young from Qualcomm made an interesting point that wearable technology needs to be seamless and enhance not inhibit our lives. The best technology goes unnoticed. The masses want the next best thing, but it has to be easy to use, accessible and stylish.
I found it particularly interesting at the workshop in San Diego that when asked what advancements the panelists would be most hopeful to see in the future of wearable tech, the response was not fashion related at all. A majority of the panel is hoping to see improvements made to preventative healthcare through the advancements achieved by collaborations like Tory Burch and Fitbit. This response was sublimely refreshing because it shows that while tech savvy developers realize that fashion is a means to an end, there is much more at stake here than the next big trend.