DVF, Hermes & Ralph Lauren oh my!
A few icons mentioned to a packed room, all of whom were interested in learning about the Future of Fashion Technology. As someone who spends the last Saturday morning of every month reading the latest Vogue, Marie Claire and Glamour this was by far the session for me.
While we are all aware of [wearable] technology currently out in the market, many people in both the technology and fashion industry are starting to wonder where it goes from here. Will we be stuck with things that remain on our wrists?
In order to understand where we are going, we need to know where we've been. Fashion isn't new and it isn't going anywhere as long as there is Fashion Week. That’s the thing though. We are at a point where Fashion meets Tech but we don’t understand each other. I got to the session early and made a pal while we waited for the panel to take the stage.
Thing is, current fashion are things that were trended 3.5 years ago. That’s just the way things are, explained Roger Wood. No surprise there, as I lusted over Kate Spade’s 2015 Ready to Wear Collection. The panel discussed the underlying value of fashion, why people choose to spend (what some people believe) are outrageous amounts of money on fashion. There are 3 pillars: Utility, Social Purpose and Psychological Purpose, noted Wood. Utility in that yes, even the smallest bags are meant to hold something. Social purpose also played a role lending to tribal affiliation, the idea of the girl sitting across the row wearing the same Sam Edelman shoes that I had at home, and I understood that a pair of silver heels always spiced up the most classic of button down denim dresses. Psychological purpose, the notion that we can use fashion to express feelings.
What about tech?
Fashion is my first love with technology being in close second. As I sat and thought about whether we'd see Glass die out in the 60 months Wood gave it to live, I worried what are the icons of the tech industry? I have a closet full of vintage clothes but only kept my Vtech laptop (circa 97). Why is that? I don’t keep my old cell phones in hopes of bringing them out of hiding for the world to see nor would I ever pay for a cell phone circa 1999. Technology is progression and I know that. We [the tech world] are always on the next sprint, the next step, always looking ahead, worried about things like performance and ascetics. While some people trade pain in for the sake of fashion, I strive for my cell phone to be less than 2 generations old. Why?
The panel offered insight, noting things like seamless integration (into our daily lives). While I understood that, I don't want to be bogged down by an armful of tech candy. I don't see the need for a fitbit, moto360 and a jawbone especially if they are pink. (Note: I don't have an issue with pink, unless it clashes with my outfit). Actionable insights, Boeckman explained, are of importance if we decide to truly meet at the corner of fashion and tech. The idea of having notifications that show up when they are most relevant, is something I know plenty of people would embrace. [No, I can't have that donut if I’m trying to lose weight.]
How do we get there?
We need to quit playing the ‘we know everything' card. We need to begin with collaboration. DVF has her line of Glass, and Tory Burch has her collaborative line of Fitbits. Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry executive going to work for Apple? Good idea. Going the other way around? Probably not so much.
What’s the H&M of wearable fashion?
A question that burned in the heads of many was asked. Sure, I'd love to own glass. Did I shell out $1500 to be one of the first explorers when I landed an invitation? No. I couldn't justify its cost. The panel discussed integration into fabric. With lower price point comes lower bells and whistles. Think about it.You could purchase a Lexus and let the car parallel park itself, or you could opt for a more affordable vehicle and purchase a Toyota. No you don't get heated seats, a rear view camera and have to *gasp* parallel park yourself but, like a Lexus, that Toyota can get you from point A to point B.
Zeagler brought up the notion of breaking down social decisions. It was one of the most insightful things mentioned as it’s something that I had never considered. While it's perfectly acceptable to see someone walking around and glancing at their wrist for what resembles a watch, it is still awkward to see someone walking around [with a tiny bluetooth headset in their ear] talking to themselves. In order for wearable technologies to move past our wrist, we need to change decisions society has made over what is normal.