TECH AND FASHION COLLIDE: WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY IS HERE
MELODY LEIBNER & JORDANA LEVINE
If this past year has shown us anything, it is our heavy reliance on online accessibility and technology. Zoom, TikTok, FaceTime, texting, and Google avidly control and command our attention in every way. Technology, flashy and innovative in its nature, brings us closer to a completely virtual world. The purpose of technology, devices, and gadgets are to alleviate the burdens and inconveniences of our everyday lives. Constantly finding new and unprecedented ways to implement technology into our lives truly paves the trajectory for improving, modernizing and adapting as a society. Now, the fashion industry is following suit: fashion leaders have noticed this technological domination, and are creating new, High-Tech Fashion that literally has unlimited potential.
When novel tech products, advertised for their futuristic qualities, are revealed, public anticipation amounts as the release date nears. As online “flash sales” and “drops” rise in exclusivity and personalization, many major fashion houses have also capitalized on this up and coming marketing strategy. In order to integrate both industries, experts in both fashion and tech have melded these dominating fields together in the form of wearable technology. The hope is that the hype surrounding tech integrated fashion pieces will be compounded by reaching the excitement of both tech and fashion savvy audiences.
Efforts to collaborate on these products have already started to infiltrate both markets. However, users are not interested in wearing bulky gadgets or obtaining yet another device; thus the key for designers is to weave or embed the technology into the clothes themselves, combining style and convenience. This way, wearable tech can enhance the customer’s dressing experience, while also ensuring the technological aspect does not dominate the apparel’s aesthetic. For example, Ministry of Supply, an up-and-coming science and technology inspired clothing brand, has created a heat regulated jacket, fluctuating between hot and cold according to the customer’s body temperature, selling for a high market price of $495. Avant-garde, NYC native brand Wearable X created yoga leggings, the first of its kind -- $249 a pair -- designated to correcting one’s poses and postures during a workout. The sensory lined fabrics are simply connected to an app and utilized via bluetooth in order to create vibration and audio that guide its user. These companies are only two of many that hope to maximize the consumer’s personalized experience.
Wearable technology is on the rise and ever-present in even our favorite mainstream and relatable brands. Levi’s has partnered with Google’s Jacquard, a progressive technology company focused on creating gadgets that maximize daily efficiency, and decrease reliance on devices. In this collaboration, Jacquard developed a snap tag that attaches to Levi’s left jacket cuff, producing a complex and conducive device right on your wrist.
The tag’s potential commands are endless: by inputting different hand motions after downloading an app on your phone, this small piece of technology makes a big impact. Ivan Poupyrev, founder of Jacquard, stresses the versatility of the piece. This embedded electronic can be used for dancers to listen to music, or for stockbrokers to check the market, without being chained to your phone. By providing vast capabilities, this wearable technology appeals to all modern consumers. As Paul Dillinger, vice president of global product innovation for LS&Co, sees it, “this isn’t just about technology for technology’s sake — it’s about addressing a real need for our consumers on the go.” Our favorite jackets can now pause our music, tell us the weather, navigate us on a run, and call our best friends. All hands free, and half the size of our cell-phones.
Not only is this creation brilliant from a technological standpoint, but Jacquard is marketing their product extremely strategically. By choosing an affordable and widely popular brand such as Levi’s, Jacquard makes the technology of tomorrow available to everyone today. The Levi’s x Jacquard jacket comes in at an only slightly inflated price of $140.00, compared to the Original Trucker Jacket that costs $98. Considering the light-weight, invisible aid that the snap tag provides, this is a bargain: all while sporting a Levi’s in style.
Jacquard has made a point for their technology to infiltrate the fashion world as they also partner their gadgets with other admired brands, such as Saint Laurent and Adidas. As stated on their website, “Jacquard™ by Google weaves new digital experiences into the things you love, wear, and use every day to give you the power to do more and be more. It’s a new everything.”
In two dominating industries, technology and fashion, trends fade in and out in the blink of an eye, and it seems harder and harder for brands to stand out from a crowd. Yet, emerging companies such as Jacquard have made one thing clear: wearable technology is breaking into fashion with no signs of stopping. The future is here.