Wearable technology is slowly expanding into a part of our daily lives—from traditional time telling devices to devices keeping tabs on our fitness levels, it has become a staple accessory for many of us. It’s no surprise that the fashion industry has caught up with the wearable tech trend, by creating luxurious accessories and design-conscious approaches, making technology a trendier part of the modern wardrobe.

Fitbit Advertisement| Photography courtesy of fitbit.com

Apple Watch promo| Photography courtesy of The Verge

Mid last year, brands from Fossil to Michael Kors partnered with Google’s Android Wear to design chic technology that wasn’t limited to black smart bands. In September 2016, Michael Kors created the label’s first smartwatch collection based on already bestselling women’s and men’s watches—the Bradshaw Access and Dylan Access respectively.

Michael Kors Bradshaw Access Watch | Photography courtesy of engadget.com

Kate Spade New York’s Womens Smartwatch (no longer available)| Photography courtesy of stephaniedrenka.com

Fashionable technology has also expanded outside of traditional timepieces—while no longer available, Topshop had a collection of contactless payment accessories mid last year, which ranged from two bracelets, two phones cases and two robot keyrings.

Topshop Robot Keyring| Photography courtesy of Wareable

In terms of connected clothing, one of the biggest surprises in store for wearable tech this year is the Project Jacquard platform—a joint venture between Google and Levi Strauss—two of the arguably leading brands in their industries.

Google x Levi’s Jacket ad | Photography courtesy of Youtube

The Commuter Jacket design is based on a classic trench coat with the tech built into the cuff. It is ideal for cycling commuters, as this fabric is a conductive and interactive yarn that has built in sleeve and sensor grids. Ultimately allowing users to control their phones and services such as maps, music and even phone calls directly from the jacket sleeve. While Google announced that the “connected garment” will cost around USD$350, it seems to be an interesting step in a good direction, towards design-focused wearable technology, and will hopefully trickle into the mainstream soon.

Commuter Jacket| Photography courtesy of phandroid.com

Commuter Jacket| Photography courtesy of The Verge

These innovations in wearable technology and design aren’t just reserved for clothes and timepieces. Personal safety wearables have slowly began to emerge and allow users to turn to these during times of emergency, while also functioning as everyday accessories. For instance, the Nimb ring, created by Nimb, will track the wearer’s location and in case of an emergency, send a distress signal to friends, families and emergency services, or other Nimb community users. Allowing the user a wide access to help if they need it.

Nimb Ring| Photography courtesy of nimbring

Nimb Ring | Photography courtesy of WearableO

While the market for these is still small and the price tag is not as affordable compared to high street or everyday accessories, there are a plethora of choices for the concerned user. Aside from the Apple Watch, which has recently built in a new SOS function, brands such as Leaf Wearables  have created a pendant which connects to the wearer’s phone and if tapped twice, sends SOS alerts. It has also created cute and child friendly smart watches for children, which helps parents stay connected to their children’s whereabouts.

Bellabeat Leaf Pendant| Photography courtesy of miradore

Leaf Wearables| Photography courtesy of Wareable

Evidently, the market for wearable tech in all shapes and sizes is growing, and we can expect to see new innovations in these areas that move aside from the traditional watch and fitness models that first appeared. Moving into something more stylish and everyday- functional, whist allowing us to use our digital experiences to our best advantage.

Written by Kay Lee

Edited by Sonia Wan

References

Amed, I. (2017). The future of wearables is smart fabrics, says Business of Fashion founder. [online] WIRED UK. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/smart-fabrics-beat-smart-devices [Accessed 25 May 2017].

Bell, L. (2017). The Best Wearable Tech And Fitness Gadgets Of 2017. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/leebelltech/2017/04/03/the-best-wearable-tech-and-health-and-fitness-gadgets-of-2017/#c2cc93514984 [Accessed 25 May 2017].

Charara, S. (2017). Fashion tech: 20 wearables that are more chic than geek. [online] Wareable. Available at: https://www.wareable.com/fashion/wearable-tech-fashion-style [Accessed 25 May 2017].

Prasuethsut, L. (2017). Personal safety wearables: A helping hand in risky situations. [online] Wareable. Available at: https://www.wareable.com/wearable-tech/best-personal-safety-wearables [Accessed 25 May 2017].

Sawh, M. (2017). Project Jacquard guide: The lowdown on Google and Levi’s smart jacket. [online] Wareable. Available at: https://www.wareable.com/smart-clothing/google-levis-project-jacquard-release-date-2750 [Accessed 25 May 2017].

Stables, J. (2017). Designer wearables: The best fashion tech from big name labels. [online] Wareable. Available at: https://www.wareable.com/fashion/designer-wearables-the-latest-collaborations-between-fashion-and-tech-giants [Accessed 25 May 2017].