In 2014, Tommy Hilfiger debuted a solar panel-lined jacket that provides power for cell phones. The product could have been a potential hit, but the clunky appearance of it was not at all appealing. Sadly consumers decided that this fashion technology wasn’t there yet for them to bet on it. They moved on.
The undisputed king of wearable technology is undoubtedly the Apple Watch. It can do almost anything the iPhone can.. Of course, having been crowned the guru in the innovative tech space, Apple’s influence, as always, marks the peak for what buyers are willing to pay and settle for in technology. While the watch doesn’t exactly represent the pinnacle of wearable technology, it definitely shows where the current trends are stalled.
Fortunately for the market, developers are now discovering the inherent potential for healthcare products in this sector. A classic example of healthcare fashion technology is the activity tracker, that’s existed for a very long time. It can, not just log your physical information such as steps walked and stairs climbed, but is now evolved enough to keep track of your vital stats including heart rate, calorie consumption and even sleep pattern. It’s an effective method to remind a user to be active and mindful of their lifestyle.
That is, however, just the first step. Microsoft researcher, Haiyan Zhang, is currently working on the Emma Watch to help Parkinson’s patients. A vibration motor in the watch acts to suppress the patient’s tremors by sending distraction signals to their brains.
In 2016, L’Oréal released a UV patch fashion technology. The band aid-like application sticks to the user’s skin and relays information to a mobile app. It informs them on how much sun they have absorbed and helps avoid risks associated with skin cancer.
We Are Wearables is a community of futurists with chapters in Toronto, Ottawa, and Chicago. More than technophiles, the group believes that wearable technology will “augment the human experience, making us better at everything we do.” They coordinate events to connect entrepreneurs in the wearables industry with potential investors. Founder, Tom Emrich, stresses the importance of involvement from fashion designers. He says: “We express ourselves with our clothing and our accessories. And this style is missing in a lot of the early wearables.”
Under Armour’s latest combines beneficial fashion technology with great marketing strategy. Their Athlete Recovery Sleepwear uses a “soft bio-ceramic print” on the inside of the garment that redirects body heat into infrared that helps with muscle recovery. If the science jargon seems off-putting, the marketing is where it pays off. The clothing line partnered with football great, Tom Brady. To the common person, it means wearing this can help them achieve peak conditioning. But to a football fan the clothing is the secret to Brady’s miracle comeback at the Superbowl.
Conceptually, fashion technology for helping humanity is on the right path. Yet there’s something missing when it comes to wholehearted embracing of the trend.
Cosmetics companies, clothing manufacturers and fashion designers are all contributing creative and helpful items to the wearable technology industry. Thanks to all the ingenuity, clothing items released are both fashionable and functional. The more technology advances, the more industries are likely to get involved. the future looks questionable for Apple to stay on top.
Alex Correa | The Edge Blog