Posted By Simon Montford on Oct 17, 2014
All wearables that glitter have tended not be gold. This is because emphasis has been placed on practicality rather than style and because most early adopters have been content to don rubber, plastic and other non-precious materials. Apparently, this view is not shared among the majority of fashion-conscious consumers.
From their perspective, wearables have not lived up to the hype in terms of appearance and quality. According to my partner-in-crime, senior lecturer of fashion brand strategy at the London College of Fashion Karinna Nobbs (we hosted a FashionTech event together) "we’re still missing that combination of something both beautiful and highly functional. In order for wearable tech to become accepted by the mass market, the design has to fit, but the tech also has to add value to the product and not be a gimmick, which many of the offers to date have been.” (quote originally published in an article by Forbes.com).
Perhaps things are about to change, because it looks like both beauty and brains are beginning to appear in the next generation of wearables. Cowen and Company reckons that although the global wearables market is currently not to be sniffed at, worth around $10.4 billion, it will grow rapidly to a designer-wallet-bursting $170 billion by 2020! Even Amazon.co.uk are getting in on the act. The company plans to open the world's first dedicated retail outlet for wearable technology.
Word is that the sparkle is about to make a grand entrance with the addition of precious materials, quality design and that magic ingredient - 'luxury-brand' endorsement; check out: Tory Burch and FitBit, Ralph Lauren and OSignal.
Intel has been particularly busy lately. Rumours abound that they have been playing the field and it appears Intel's flirtations are starting to pay off. The frisky chip-champ has already jumped into bed with a number of fashion-forward parties including AIQ, Opening Ceremony, Barneys and The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). The fruits of their flirtations include the much anticipated $1k bracelet called MICA and range of dapper threads that contain sensors that enable clothing to communicate with the wearer.
Others getting in on the action include Christopher Grayson, Rebecca Minkoff, Kovert Designs, Ringly, CuteCircuit and Olive. Each have launched or plan to launch their take on smart jewellery and sexy accessories so fashionistas keep a close eye on this space as more announcements of further partnerships and collaborations will undoubtedly follow.
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