How Will High Tech Change Your Closet?

Apple Watch.jpgTechnology has weaseled its way into nearly every part of our lives. We keep our phones with us 24/7 keeping us connected to the world, and that experience became a part of us with the inception of wireless data. But who would have thought that we would eventually be wearing this technology as part of our wardrobe?

Wearable technology raked in over $7 billion in sales last year in America, marking a 185% sales growth from 2014. These sales included Fitbits, Apple watches, and wearable cameras such as GoPros. As seen in these examples above, wearable technology gives off the impression of being limited to a fitness focused market, that tracks very important but often auxiliary information. Additionally, these devices aren’t exactly the most extravagant or ‘hype’ clothing/accessories that people would proudly flaunt at a fashion show. Although this is seen as one type of wearable technology, certain ever so popular fashion shows are beginning to explore new ways of incorporating technology into the new designs in fashion.

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One example recently, the Met Gala in May of 2016, really demonstrated how technology has weaved its way into the fashion industry. Claire Dane appeared with a glow-in-the-dark Zac Posen dress and Karolína Kurková’s Marchesa wore the IBM Watson gown, based off of the design of the supercomputer. Although these are small examples of how technology has truly impacted a hugely popular fashion show, it foreshadows the imagination of what could happen. This idea is definitely not new since we have seen Lady Gaga and Katy Perry flying around stage, brightly lit up like a Christmas tree. We ultimately expect people to fly in on drones, or possibly have wearable transportation devices. There are jackets with navigation installed into them, essentially constantly sending over data and information to some type of program that knows where you are exactly at what time. Who knows at this point? Each day, technology is blowing people’s’ minds for what it can do to any industry. So is high technology really becoming the new high fashion?

But first off, why should you even care about this? The answer is because your closet will start to change before you know it. As we all know how fashion works, what shows up on the runway might end up in your closet in no time. And on top of that, at affordable prices for the common man.

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Most of the wearable technology on the market is strongly driven by functionality and fitness over beauty and fashion. Fitness trackers being the leaders of this wearable technology hub, has reached nearly $4 billion in manufacturer sales. As seen in the model above, wearable tech is forecasted to reach new heights of revenue growth. Hopefully this market is driven by people who enjoy working out and staying fit rather than the market having a strong correlation to the obesity rates in America. I assume half the people in this class either have an Apple watch or a Fitbit despite its horrendous costs, given that we do also attend a school filled with affluent families.

One of the biggest concerns lies with the aesthetics of these blocks on our wrists. Is it fashionable enough or does it need to go through major revamps for its look? The answer could lie with simply incorporating and hiding it under already well known brands. The last time I walked into Fossil, a very popular and trendy watch store with a younger market appeal, I was looking for a regular watch to just casually wear. I saw their smartwatch collection and was super intrigued to see how it would look alongside their regular novelty watches. It was fascinating because there was so little difference that I could not even tell which was smart and which was dumb. Another example can be seen in Tory Burch as they have teamed with Fitbit to make a more appealing design. Tory Burch came out with a Fitbit holder that could essentially use the wrist strap designed by Tory Burch but at the same time have all of the functionality of the Fitbit. This is definitely a quick fix to the problem, except for the underlying costs that really take a toll on your wallet.

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With technology’s invasion into our wardrobe, the discussion for security never can be left out of the question. Your phone can tell you exactly where you are using its navigation system and even communicate that to anyone with the technology as well. And now your jacket can do the same with a navigation system built into it.

It really is amazing to see how technology is making its appearance in the fashion industry, but can it continue to thrive or even grow to take over it? There definitely needs to be more work in balancing the aesthetics into fashion to make something more ‘hype,’ but people are definitely seeing the light in this. But is technology starting to dictate too much of our lives or is this all a good thing? Will wearable technology be able to succeed in this ever so cautious world that we live in?

 

8 comments

  1. emmaharney21 · ·

    This is an incredibly interesting and insightful post. I went to the temporary exhibit featured at the MFA last spring called #techstyle (link below to website). It was a feature on technology and fashion and as a Studio Art minor I was in awe. The pieces there were stunning, innovative, and used material in an incredible way. I think this topic highlights how technology can truly transgress into an art form. Your post specifically made me think about how this could affect our daily life as consumers. I think you did a great job presenting the outrageous examples of glow in the dark dresses but contrasted that with the prevalence of the fit bit. Great post!

    http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/techstyle

  2. copmania12 · ·

    I think you bring up a really interesting point about the reason wearable tech is becoming so popular, and therefore, the direction in which it is heading in the future. Is wearable tech revolutionizing the way we live our day to day lives- increasing efficiency levels, saving time, encouraging healthier lifestyles? OR is tech heavy fashion simply an obvious way of flaunting wealth and affluence? Do you wear an apple watch because you need it or because it’s an apple watch and people know how expensive it is? It seems you are suggesting at a place like BC, the latter may be the case. Cool food for thought- thanks!

  3. Hi! I really loved this post. I remember reading a recap of last spring’s Met Ball, where celebrities had very different definitions of “technology” show through their costumes. Without a doubt though, Claire Danes nailed it. She looked like Cinderella for the 21st century. What I thought was was so interesting about her dress though was that Zac Posen designed it — not a technology company. Sure, he probably consulted some engineers, but everybody famously attributes the design to a clothing designer, rather than a tech company (unlike Karolina Kurkova’s dress.) It makes you think about how this trend will continue to be integrated into modern fashion and designs. Considering how technology has saturated nearly every aspect of our daily lives, I wonder if wearable technology, combining both fashion and function, will very quickly become the new normal.

  4. emilypetroni14 · ·

    It is clear that the fashion industry is not exempt from the “internet-of-things” phenom. The high-tech clothing coming out seems to be a luxury item that will eventually trickle down to the masses at better prices. I do think the glow-in-the-dark dress could be translated into something useful – like nighttime active wear for safety.

  5. michaelahoff · ·

    I didn’t think of the ability to track your clothes with wearables. That could be a game changer, if it already isn’t.

  6. Wow I really enjoyed this piece, thank you for sharing. As someone that is as into fashion as I am, I definitely feel that technology is going to influence the fashion world more than we know. I was really impressed with how Apple incorporated it into the Apple watch as you’ve shown, it shows how they have developed a competitive advantage above other companies and kind of kicked fitbit out of the market. Also last year with the awards shows when themed in tech and electronics it was amazing how many of the women’s gowns were really robotic influenced as the light up one you showed is. I am intrigued to see how the future of fashion and what is “in our closet”, will be influenced more by tech.

  7. I confess that my favorite part of the apple watch is the fitness tracker stuff. I think we’re still a ways from wearable tech from really being a flashy tech accessory. I do think we’ll get there before long, though. Bet it will be some sort of glasses, combined with AR, but I could be wrong.

  8. I think the intersection of fashion and technology is a fascinating area to explore. It shows that nearly all industries are in some way are thinking about how to integrate technology into their core product. The fact that the theme of the Met Ball last year was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” is pretty much proof of this – even traditional fashion designers are considering the proliferation of wearable tech, and adapting that theme to conventional clothing, whether that be dresses, shoes, etc. Fashion has long been known for quirky and avant-garde trends, so it makes sense that the industry wants to get in on the innovative technology sphere.

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