Now that the general public has become accustomed to the idea of wearables thanks to FitBits and Apple Watches, the novelty surrounding wearable tech fashion has died down. Now that the technology is becoming more sophisticated, wearable tech is moving away from solely focusing on function to embracing fashion.
This month’s We Are Wearables Toronto focused on this intersection of fashion and technology with a special ’80s-themed event. Inviting all attendees to dress in ’80s garb, the event brought together both fashion and tech experts like Aram Hamparian, director of sales for Fossil Canada (which is embracing smartwatches); Tony Chahine, CEO of Myant; Zayn Jaffer, director of emerging businesses at Best Buy Canada; Sharlene Sternberg, marketing manager at Sensoria; and Electric Runway founder Amanda Cosco.
“The transition that we’re seeing in the market is what I call ‘from gadgets to garments’. The first wave of wearables was about computers strapped to the body, and the conversation in 2015 to 2016 is shifting to smart fabrics and connected clothing,” said Cosco during the panel. “If tech can learn from fashion, then we can get a sense of where we’re going. We want our garments to be second skins, but we’re now leading connected lives so it’s about time our clothing got an upgrade.”
— Alison Gibbins (@alivey) August 25, 2016
However, an issue with having so much selection is that consumers have to juggle between devices that don’t connect with each other. “I would need to use six or seven different apps. So if I wear a belt that says I ate too much food, and then I have soles in my shoes that’s connected to my phone, and a wrist-based watch that can’t talk to my jeans that told me I just got pickpocketed; this data is overwhelming, and not always accurate,” said Jaffer.
— David Kemper (@dkemper) August 25, 2016
“One of the challenges is that we may not have a point of reference for wearables, and the Apple Watch is sort of cultivating this user experience. We’re wearing wrist-based wearable technology so it’s a new experience for all of us and it’s exciting and we’re working out the glitches together,” said Cosco. “When textile doesn’t work, we feel it, because we know how our jeans and sweaters are supposed to feel.”