It’s no secret that many of the wearables currently on the market are ugly as hell. That’s because the companies designing the tech are doing what they do best, which is coming up with the on-board gadgetry. Until now, they haven’t really had to worry about whether we’d like to wear the gadgets they made. And that’s why they need some help from the fashion world.
We’ve already seen some promising partnerships like Google Glass and Diane Von Furstenberg along with some divisive designs like the Intel MICA bangle. Naturally, a gaudy crystal-encrusted wearable has also emerged in the form of the Misfit Swarovski Shine. But who above the age of 12 actively seeks out a gadget covered in crystals?
Designer wearables: The best fashion tech from big name labels
Not us. And that’s why we’ve pulled together some of the brands that we’d actually like to see getting stuck into the wonderful world of wearables.
The current trainer of chance could definitely benefit from some built-in tech like Digitsole’s connected insoles. You can use a smartphone app to heat up the clever inserts to keep your trotters warm while a pedometer keeps track of your steps.
If you put all the Herschel backpacks in Shoreditch end to end, you’d be able to reach all the way to the moon. This is a completely made-up fact, but there a HELL of a lot them in London and the hipster target market would no-doubt welcome some sort of on-board gadgetry. Perhaps a built-in proximity sensor for thwarting would-be thieves or maybe even a back warmer that heats up on demand like Microsoft Research’s smart scarf, to keep you snug while riding your bicycle in the cold.
There are so many options for wearables here - first on the list has to be a ‘Belty’-style smart belt that adjusts itself to fit your increasingly portly yet fashionable shape. Or perhaps a stress-relieving Melomind-powered beanie is more your thing? The technology is so far unproven, but we certainly hope it works. SuperDry jackets have more zips that it’s humanly possible to use, so we reckon there’s easily room for a built-in fitness tracker or two.
Edgy jewellery brand Tatty Devine is no stranger to collaborations so we’d love to see it teaming up with a tech company to make some fine-looking tech-filled eye candy. Imagine how cool it would be if the brand’s existing Mission Control necklace (pictured) actually packed a button-sized Intel Curie chip or some sort of mood tracking like Zensorium.
Smartwatches from the likes of Apple, Samsung and LG are all well and good, but what they really need is some of the traditional watch makers on board. We’ve seen collaborations like the Guess Connect/Martian mash-up but we want to see more from the big boys. Incorporating wearable tracking and notification tech into existing popular designs that people actually wear can only be a good move.
The popular flip-flops from Brazil that have become a summer staple in the UK and pretty much everywhere else and would be ideal for housing a simple, lightweight pedometer, like the Jawbone UP Move, built into the rubber straps. A UV level tracker to prevent sunburn, like the June, would also be handy addition.
This sports brand is already involved in the wearable revolution with its Armour39 chest strap. A perfect addition to its high-performance sportswear would be Athos-style micro EMG sensors woven into the garments. These would collect heart and breathing rates and muscle efforts to help monitor fitness levels. Ralph Lauren has already made moves in this area with its Polo Tech shirt.
Slowly taking over from Mulberry as the must-have bag maker for urbanites, Michael Kors already produces iPad cases and bags specifically designed to hold MacBooks. We’ve already seen some great progress in the techie handbag arena, thanks to the likes of the superb Knomo Elektronista Clutch, but Kors could take it a step further. That MK charm found on most of the range is crying out for a built-in pedometer or even a proximity sensor so your bag never goes walkabout.
Headphones and earphones from this achingly hip Swedish brand are all named after areas in its native land. The no-frills design and rainbow of colour choices means that they’re enormously popular among commuters and city indwellers. Teaming up with Intel to produce a range of heart rate monitor-toting earbuds, like the SMS Audio BioSport range, in a range of colours would be a great move.
The Back the Future Part II angle has been done to death and self-tightening laces are finally set to be a reality in 2015, courtesy of the latest Nike MAGS. And yet, we want more. What’s to stop Nike running with its ‘tech trainer’ reputation and producing some more futuristic footwear like the Sketchers Game Kicks which sport a playable Simon-esque game? A tie-up with one (or more) of the top games companies like Nintendo would be the dream.