Forget unsightly accessories... Fashion technology is becoming distinctly more stylish.
Wearable technology is a subject of much contention - at least in the fashion industry. While Apple Watch has arguably struck the balance between form and function (enlisting Hermes for a special edition), other wearables have elicited a (at best) lukewarm reaction from fashion editors. Two years ago, Google Glass raised a number of privacy and security concerns, in addition to the sartorial question, are we willing to don tech appendages? In Glass's case, the answer was no - despite support from Diane von Furstenberg and NET-A-PORTER. We explore wearable technology's recent successes.
Despite not falling into the 'wearables' category, Chanel's SS17 bots deserve a notable mention. A tech theme pervaded the latest collection - a contrast to the French fashion house's late arrival on Instagram (back in 2014) and reluctance to sell online. From the show's futuristic set and innovative styling to its cyber-like LED handbags, Karl Lagerfeld seemingly used the brand's PFW show to highlight the importance of the union between fashion and technology.
This isn't Lagerfeld's first foray into tech. To coincide with the launch of Spectacles by Snapchat, the designer shot Snapchat founder, Evan Spiegel, for WSJ. Magazine. Unlike the widely mocked Google Glass, Specs come in black, teal or coral and are made to look like regular sunglasses - a huge design plus. Practical and stylish, this accessory could have the potential to revolutionise social sharing and wearable tech in years to come.
Meanwhile, fashion, art and tech merge in Elena Martin's latest project. For an upcoming performance of FUTURO by The Waldorf Project, Martin has crafted costumes from bespoke, light-emitting textiles that were not only in sync with their surroundings, but - incredibly - in sync with the movements and proximity of the show's audience and participants. Light-up designs are not only an aesthetically pleasing blend of fashion and technology, they're also incredibly Instagrammable too - an important consideration for artists today.
High street brands are also getting in on the action too. Dubbed a more stylish and easy way to pay. In November, Topshop's collaboration with Barclaycard saw the launch of a range of chic touch-and-go accessories. The range included wristbands, smartphone cases, stickers – which can be added to accessories or gadgets – and key chains, all created to discreetly hold the small bPay contactless chip.
As wearable tech matures, expect to see more and more designer collaborations both in store and on the runway.
Words: Dan Flay
Image via Chanel