To the average consumer, fashion and technology aren’t necessarily two words that go together. For those in the industry however, fashion and technology are heavily linked, and often complement each other in areas ranging from design, to manufacturing and implementation. Modern smartphones could be considered fashionable tech, and wearable tech is a further evolution. Structural engineering can even play a central role in fashion design. You only need to look at those who are leading innovation in the industry to see just how important technology will be to the fashion world in the coming decades.
High fashion often follows form over function. For consumers, that means style over comfort. There are a growing number of designers today who don’t see fashion and comfort as polar opposites, and they’re using technology to bridge the gap. Take Dolly Singh from Thesis Couture. Her Los Angeles based company runs with the tagline ‘Style without Sacrifice’. It’s a mantra that led her to collaborate with engineers from SpaceX to develop a heel that redistributes pressure more evenly across a typical high fashion, high heel. The stiletto is being re-imagined as a structural chassis that will take the stress off of the ball of the heel. Although stilettos will likely never achieve the comfort or ergonomics of a well-supported flat or sports shoe, an innovation that makes them more comfortable than they currently are would go a long way towards breaking the idea that comfort always comes second in high fashion.
Wearable technology is another area where fashion is usually compromised to make way for function. Apple, Samsung, and even companies like Fitbit have made wearables desirable, but technology like the smartwatch is still not turning heads when it comes to fashion aficionados. It would be difficult to pair a smartwatch with a fashion forward style, but that could be about to change with the next generation of wearables.
Kovert is another company tipped to become an industry leader as it finds new ways to turn fashionable jewelry into wearable tech. CEO Kate Unsworth noticed the worrying trend that technology has the potential to disconnect users from their immediate surroundings. It’s not uncommon to see people glued to their smartphones and tablets, afraid to miss the next SMS, call, or notification from their social media accounts. Kovert has designed jewelry using traditional precious metals that house ceramic based ‘jewels’. These jewels aren’t just for show. They contain a vibrating mechanism and a wireless receiver that can be paired to a smartphone or other capable device. This means that wearers will receive notifications through a ring on their finger, a pendant on a necklace, or even through earrings. The jewels are modular so they can be switched between jewelry pieces, meaning that wearers can keep up with the latest trends, and even set the ceramic jewels in custom manufactured pieces.
There’s no question that the leading technology firms have raised awareness when it comes to technology and fashion, but it is the smaller designers who are using technical innovations to improve jewelry and fashionable apparel without compromising on style. With innovative minds like those at Kovert and Thesis Couture, there’s little doubt that high tech, high fashion jewelry and clothing will be as common in the future as smartphones are today.
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Photo: Technically Sweet