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Wearables: Where Technology Meets Fashion

by Norton_Team

The only thing that changes faster than technology is fashion—so what happens when you combine both fast-paced industries? A lot of excitement, that’s what, even for those of us who are more at home in an old t-shirt. 

Whether you’re into sports wearables or like the sound of something a bit fancier to augment your reality, the world of wearables is fascinating.

Your interest might lie in a dress that can charge your phone or a pair of 3D glasses that maps out your life. Just don’t complain when your wife sees how often you’re actually down at the local having a few pints in those fancy glasses, or her rose-tinted ones might make a quick departure!

Today we’re going to take a look into the fascinating world of some of the coolest fashionable wearables that have caught our eye.

Source: Shutterstock

Solar panel clothing

Is there anything more annoying than your phone hitting depressingly-low levels of charge and having nowhere to charge it while you're out and about? The good people at Wearable Solar feel your pain and are well on their way to solving your problem. And with on-point fashion too.

Using flexible solar-powered technology in their garments and accessories, Wearable Solar are planning to bring in a tech revolution. Wear your garment in the sun for an hour to stockpile charge. Plug your phone into the panels and your battery will charge up to 50%. Handy for when you really need some extra juice to call home or ask your phone for directions.

Wearable Solar aren't the only company using solar power technology in their designs. Popular American brand Tommy Hilfiger hit the headlines when they launched a jacket incorporating the technology. Coming with a hefty price tag of £390/€530, most of us couldn’t afford our first taste of sunshine clothing. 

Keep your heart happy (with your bra)

As every woman knows, a good quality sports bra is a gym essential. Along with the old reliable, women are also adding a heartrate tracker to their list of gym must-haves. So why not combine both? Textronics have created a very clever NuMetrix sports bra to combine chest support and helpful information. 

A super-powered sports bra…surely that’s enough to get you away from the TV in the evening and into the gym to give it a go?

An environmentally-friendly bracelet might save the world

Source: EletroLux Design/Fair Usage

Not yet reality, the Hand Tree was designed by Alexandr Kostin, a semi-finalist in the 2013 Electrolux Design Lab Competition. A nifty little device worn around the wrist like a bracelet, the Hand Tree sucks up polluted air, filters it, and then recycles it back into the environment.

The mini purifier works on the principle of plants and how they filter carbon dioxide, and has a gas refillable carbon filter, rechargeable battery, and a light-emitting diode screen. It’s all very impressive when you consider that the wearable looks much like a cuff bracelet.

Krostin’s final hope for the device is that it’ll work as a personal air purifier that will allow us to defend against air-born nastiness. What more could you want from a bracelet?

Trackable clothing

If you're sick of your favourite clothes mysteriously going missing after your sticky-fingered siblings come to visit, fashion designer Asher Levine has just the thing for you. In his autumn 2013 collection, the US designer included tracking chips in his pieces.

Levine partnered with Bluetooth solutions company Phone Halo to create a chip that could be tracked using the TrackR app. Trackable clothing could be instrumental in the case of missing children too—or for tracking down your spouse when they go walkabouts when the kitchen needs cleaning.

Through the looking Glass

Remember when people wore glasses to see better? Simpler times! Combine coolness and functionality with Microsoft’s HoloLens, the next step in virtual reality.

Surf the web, listen to your favourite new tunes, and even snap a cheeky selfie. Or maybe use its state of the art technology to track your heart rate, activity, and calorie burning. If all else fails, you can even wear them for the good old-fashioned reason of improving your eyesight or protecting your eyes from harsh UV rays. 

Safe cycling

Despite what some cyclists might have you believe, cycling while using your phone is highly dangerous. Now, sometimes you’re a bit lost and you need the help of your trusty GPS to find your way so what can you do but whip your phone out? There’s an alternative.

DIY electronics kit company, Adafruit, has developed a bicycle helmet with a built-in navigation system.

The helmet uses flashing lights as indicators to direct the cyclist to turn left or right. The user will have to manually enter the coordinates of the destination into the system before beginning their journey, but it’ll be safer than having to keep an eye on their smartphones while cycling. 

Source: Shutterstock

Carry the sounds

Handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff has already attracted a fashion-loving following, but now she's trying to appeal to music lovers too. Her stylish collection of clutch-shaped speakers for Stellé Audio Couture is the ultimate all-in-one party accessory. The built-in speaker in the handbag functions wirelessly via Bluetooth, making it portable and easy to use.

Happy Beat

An oldie, but a goodie. Headphones have been around for ages, but it’s only been in recent years that they’ve become quite the fashion statement, if not a status symbol. The launch of Beats by hip-hop music producer Dr. Dre meant that headphones have become a slick and colourful accessory. 

Source: Shutterstock

Fashion up in lights

Like to stand out from the crowd with your fashion choices? Designer Ying Gao has created a collection of clothing that will help you do just that. Each garment is made with tiny motors integrated into the patterns which move when someone looks at them.

Sounds like a great way to figure out if someone has taken a liking to you! They’ll stare and the motors in your garment will start whirring. There’s a weird rom-com in there somewhere.

The science is straight-forward: the dresses are embedded with eye-tracking technology that responds to an observer’s gaze by activating tiny motors. The motors move the parts of the dress and create incandescent patterns. If you’re ever stuck in the dark, they also glow.

Dainty technology

Determined to stomp out the notion that technology can't be cute and feminine, China-based designer Vega Wang (that's Vega, not bridal designer Vera Wang!) has designed a range of delicate chiffon dresses that utilise electroluminescent lights.

When studying at the prestigious Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in London, Wang's college project collection, Into the Deep, used Elmin 8 lights to create a look inspired by the sci-fi classic, Tron. When asked about her love for mixing futuristic technology with fashion, Wang said "I think technology is helping bring the handmade back to fashion."

Fashion that feels

Fashion that lights up is the first step—but what about fashion that lights up depending on your environment?

Fashion brand Rainbow Winters has designed a range of clothing that responds to the wearer's environment. The holographic leather garments react to sound and as the volume increases, the design detailing on the dress begins to illuminate.

The company has even designed a bathing suit that reacts to light and changes colour to purple when the sun shines.

What time is it?

And of course no tech fashion hot list would be complete without the Apple Watch. The highly anticipated launch of this techie wristwatch was in June and customers led an online frenzy.

The watches start at £299 for an entry-level sports model and go right up to £13,500 for a more blinged-out 18-karat gold edition. To save those valuable seconds spent on having to actually take your smartphone out of your pocket and check your social media sites for notifications, the iWatch beams messages, emails and notifications to your wrist. 

Source: Pixabay / Labelled for Reuse

Its 8GB of storage is double that of its competitor, the Android Wear watch, but that’s still not a huge amount of storage so it will limit the amount of photos and music you can keep on the device. It will also offer the wearer some of Apple's most popular features like Apple Pay, airport check-in, and fitness tracking.

Just so you know, it does actually tell the time too.

For now, wearable tech is still very expensive, but give it time and the price will drop.

Karinna Nobbs, a senior lecturer at the British School of Fashion, predicts that once wearable tech becomes more streamlined and less clunky, we'll all be jumping on the bandwagon. “As prices come down and as the tech is made more invisible, it will be more desirable for consumers,” she said.

Something to aspire to, eh?

This entry was posted on Fri Nov 27, 2015 filed under digital trends

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