Wearable tech at NYFW: Emoji pins, Fitbit bands and GIF dresses

Adventures in fashion tech from New York Fashion Week
NYFW: GIF dresses and emoji pins

Out of all the big four fashion weeks, New York has shown the most love to wearable tech so far. And this week, NYFW continued its dalliance with smart clothing and sensor packed accessories in style.

As usual, Intel was involved. It teamed up with design house Chromat again on both glowing dresses and sportswear, controlled by Curie modules on the runway. There was also activity tracking, unicorn emoji pins. That's right, it's fashion week time.

Chromat Lumia

Chromat's Becca McCharen sent models down the catwalk in her latest Lumia AW16 collection - the twist? They were controlling the garments with handheld controllers covered by stylish hand wraps.

Read this: Fashion tech - 20 wearables that are more chic than geek

The system was developed by StretchSense, a spin off from Auckland University which is working on stretchable capacitive sensors and debuted its own smart gloves at CES. According to its CEO Ben O'Brien, the soft sensor tech is best described as "rubber bands with Bluetooth."

Last Fashion Week, Chromat put its Aeros smart sports bra centre stage but this time, it was more about expression than utility.

Activity tracking emoji pins

The badges weren't for the runway, they were give out to "select fashion influencers" instead. Adorned with iconic emojis - unicorns, diamonds - they are hiding Intel Curie modules, complete with accelerometers and gyroscopes.

The pins track activity, steps and location and are designed to give mere mortals an insight into how hard fashion types work during Fashion Week. Plus we can't find any pics just yet but we're sure they looked hip.

Both the badges and the StretchSense collaboration are proof of concepts at this stage - something Intel hasn't been able to move on from in term of its relationship with high fashion. It has had more success with powering smartwatches from Tag Heuer and Fossil.

Fitbit x Public School

Fitbit had its own NYFW announcement to shout about. The wearable tech company is teaming up with New York based label Public School on a range of accessories for its latest fitness tracker, the Fitbit Alta.

A play for fans of the street aesthetic, the collection (for men and women) will include both premium bands made from metal and with custom designs as well as more affordable, printed sport bands. Design duo Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow showed off the first design concepts during their AW16 NYFW show and availability is simply "later this year".

Judging by the first pics coming out of NYFW, it will be a fresh take on making fitness tracker modules chic - just look at this skeleton watch concept above. More from where that came from, please.

GIF dresses

Elsewhere, Neurocouture took a shine not to emojis but wearable GIFs, with designer Nayana Malhotra projecting memes like Sad Frog and Donald Trumps' face onto oversized ponchos at the VFiles NYFW show.

The models were fitted with EEG sensors via headgear to measure 'emotions' and body temperature and the projections were then set to reflect the model's mood. Malhotra told Dazed: "The graphic and repetitive nature of the GIF makes it a beautiful, ever growing tool. It's a living piece of content and a cultural object at the same time."

We'll update this story with any more NYFW fashion tech experiments as the week goes on - don't forget, London Fashion Week starts this Friday, 19 February.

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