We’ve been talking about wearables for a while now, and one of the main issues that always seems to crop up is how ugly some can be, and usually the ones with all the best tech crammed in them. Smartwatches and fitness trackers are going to be worn constantly, so why shouldn’t they look good, like something we’d actually want to be seen out and about in?
That’s where the fashion industry comes in. Designers don’t just make clothes that look good, they know why a woman would want to wear something in the first place; something that the tech industry has needed to focus on with its aesthetics.
Cowen and Co. estimates that the wearables market will grow to $170 billion by 2020, and, since London Fashion Week, it’s become extremely clear that the fashion industry has finally realised that there’s stiff competition coming in thick and fast from the likes of Ringly and Kovert, as so many designers have now collaborated with tech giants to create the perfect mix of tech we’d want to use and wearables we’d want to, well, wear.
Here’s our pick of the best fashion and tech collaborations to hit the wearables market.
1) DVF for Google Glass
Now, it’s no secret that Google Glass is ugly, so when one of the most influential women in fashion Diane von Furstenburg announced her luxury apparel and accessories brand DVF were planning on making it a lot more wearable, we were very excited.
The Glass features a non-intrusive display that compliments the wearer’s view, although if you don’t wear glasses usually, it can be a bit disorientating trying them on for the first time. It’s capable of giving notifications and replying to messages and answering calls via voice recognition, and can also take a photo using the on-board camera with a wink or a command, starting with ‘OK Glass’.
While we’re not entirely sure whether we’d want to walk around wearing them (come on, they do look douchey), so many famous faces gave their pair an outing at London Fashion Week, including Made in Chelsea’s Oliver Proudlock and Millie Mackintosh.
If you’ve got a spare £1250 lying around, you can buy a pair of Google Glass from Net-A-Porter.
Back in July, the Fitbit Flex, a brand that, before then, definitely wasn’t concerning itself with aesthetics, received a stylish makeover, as designer Tory Burch launch a high-end accessory collection for the wearable fitness tracker.
The range included silicone printed bracelets in Tory Burch’s signature colours of blue and pink, as well as the designer’s signature ’T’ stamped all over them. However, our favourite part of the range was the pendant necklace and hinged bracelet, both made of brass with decorate open framework, and both able to hold the Fitbit Flex discretely, ultimately transforming the fitness tracker into a stylish accessory we’d wear with or without the Fitbit Flex inside.
3) Diesel for Samsung
The Samsung Gear S is definitely the most innovative smartwatch out there with its 3G capability (sorry Apple!). However, while this means you don’t have to take your phone out with you at all, it’s quite a bulky wearable, and not that attractive.
That’s where Diesel’s come in. During London Fashion Week, the clothing brand unveiled a range of accessories making the Gear S much more aesthetically pleasing, as part of its Spring/Summer ’15 collection.
The collection has been inspired by New Wave rock stars and tough rockabilly heroines, giving the device some edge with leather and metal detailing, and we’re absolutely loving the way that they look like big chunky cuffs. Big chunky cuffs complete with a big phone-screen.
Misfit Shine was one of the more good-looking activity trackers anyway, being quite inconspicuous and all, but the way that Chromat incorporated it into its New York Fashion Week show was impressive.
The cage-like dominatrix-ey lingerie brand, worn by the likes of Beyonce and Iggy Azalea, definitely added something to the Misfit Shine. We’re just not really sure what, seeing as most of the underwear looks really hard to wear under your clothes, so wouldn’t be a great way of hiding your fitness tracker. Unless you’re Beyonce or Iggy Azalea and wearing the clothes as stage costumes, and wanting to track your activity while onstage, but we doubt you’re Beyonce or Iggy Azalea (If you are though, OMG I LOVE YOU, PLEASE BE MY BEST FRIEND!).
5) Opening Ceremony for Intel
At first glance, these just look like bracelets, but, in actual fact, this is MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory), a smart bracelet created by fashion brand Opening Ceremony and chip manufacturers Intel.
Unveiled at New York Fashion Week, these snake skin effect bangles are set with semi-precious stones and look like a stylish new season accessory but holds several communication functions, including SMS messages, meeting alerts, as well as general notifications delivered directly to the wrist and wireless charging support.
Sadly, MICA isn’t available to buy yet, and will cost around $1,000 when it comes to market anyway, so you better get saving if you want to get your hands on one.
6) Rebecca Minkoff for Case-Mate
Rebecca Minkoff has announced that she’s designing a line of five wearable devices, with the help of Case-Mate, that will launch this autumn.
The line includes a really $60 lightning cable that doubles as a beautiful black, leather and gold bracelet and a gorgeous $120 chunky chain-link bracelet with black and grey studs masking the accessory’s ability to send a range of notifications.
The fact that these wearables look absolutely nothing like wearables is what makes this line so appealing, as well as the affordable-ish price.