So ‘wearable tech’ is everywhere at the moment with all the major smart phone brands proudly launching wrist-ware that promises to do everything from acting managing all our activities, data and contacts in one place. With Google Android Wear releasing the LG Watch and Samsung Gear Live Watch some consumers are waiting to see what Apple come up with before making their purchase (iTime / iWatch or various other iNames). Ultimately with the square watch face and the general clunky feel there’s just something a bit ‘inspector Gadget’ about the whole thing. With Garmin already dominating in the fitness tech market I’ve been more impressed with wearables that have a social and health impact, but whilst we’ll look at these in further blogs the issue remains that the wearable currently on the marketing just lacks style. The fitness bands (often brightly coloured rubber things) for example that are meant to be worn all day take no account of merging with office wear and/or following evening social activities. What they are currently overlooking is that beyond the initial techie market many see a watch as a timepiece, a fashion statement and arm candy rather than purely for its functional purpose.
Let’s face it we’re just never going to see the LG watch make The Stylist Magazine’s ‘lust list’ – it’s just....not a fashion ‘must have’. Google Glass still channels something a bit ‘Star Trek’ and even a collaboration with fashion guru Diane Von Ferstenburg (creator of the iconic wrap dress no less) still couldn’t develop anything that shook of the feel of ‘smart glasses’. There are some signs however that the worlds tech giant are aware they need to bring the geeks and the fashionistas together. Apple are currently working with Angela Ahrendts who is famed for helping transform Burberry from damaged brand to high-end luxury (she’s also considered the 9th most powerful woman in the UK so not a bad choice for adding retail style). The fact is most consumer electronics brands are yet to actively market wearables to women, a black rubber band look might appeal to some men and students but it just doesn’t scream ‘fashion forward’.
With this in mind FitBit (the health tracking device) have teamed up with designer Tory Burch to implement her trademark bohemian prints into the FitBit design (so now I’m interesting in tracking my steps, calorie intake and whatever else it tracks), because ultimately I’m already seeing how it fits into my style, various outfits and ‘looks’ and I’m ‘sold’ on that – form and design rather than functionality. However just bringing together tech names and high-end fashion houses won’t be enough alone. To really crack the fashion market wearable tech needs to embrace the kind of exceptional innovation that fully integrates form and function and we’re not quite there yet!