As managing director of Brix Media Co., a Vancouver tech PR firm that specializes in both technology PR and fashion PR, I often get asked which industry I’m more drawn to. Truth is, I no longer have to choose. Like almost every other sector, fashion has embraced technology and at the cross section are some of the most innovative products that add functionality and enhance day-to-day life.
Last April, Apple Watch presented a slick-looking multi-functional design that style-conscious men and women would actually wear. The accessible price-point generated a new wave of curiosity in the future of wearables.
From street-style mainstays to complex 3D prints and the integration of virtual reality, here are four products that exemplify what the future holds for tech-inspired fashion:
“Pretty” might not be the first adjective to describe Ringly, the latest in smart jewelry, albeit the design is beautiful. Disguised as a classic sapphire ring, when slipped on it pairs immediately with your iOS or Android device. With a recent investment of $5.1 million, Ringly’s ability to track incoming calls, messages and emails is growing in popularity.
Fit for an occasion yet to be determined, a dress debuted by Columbia designer Maria Orduz Pinto at this year’s CES was decorated with handmade fabric flowers that deflect light and 3D printed flowers and optic fibers that react to sound. Driven by a $20 billion business, the tech-luxury space aims to make clothing beautiful, functional and long lasting.
Swedish designer Ida Klamborn is breaking down the elitist culture of Fashion Week Stockholm with the introduction of a 360 virtual reality (VR) technology. “Democratic Front Row” invites fans from around the world to experience Ida’s runway show, via their mobiles, from a seat in the front row. Located next to the stage, a robot installation will capture the 360-degree view for those tuning in via VR, a view typically reserved for fashion elites and celebrities. Still not impressed? The robot will light up based on the reaction of the fans watching.
Tech-luxury with an ethical twist sounds promising although in this case it means choosing to wear a bikini that absorbs pollution. The sponge bikini, developed by a New York architecture and design studio Eray Carbaj for a wearable technology competition, is made from a material that repels water and absorbs oil. The lightweight sponge material can absorb up to 25 times its own weight.
The integration of technology and fashion is far from evolved but fashion and design icons are encouraging the process. Von Furstenberg’s upcoming collection of handbags will be outfitted with hidden built-in chargers and Iris Apfel has teamed up with WiseWear’s Socialite collection, a line of fashionable metal jewelry that tracks fitness, receives mobile alerts and sends distress signals to emergency contacts.
The fascination with tech-savvy fashion will continue to grow throughout 2016 as world-class events like The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Gala and Costume Institute exhibition run with themes such as “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”