Oh, boy! September’s been a month full of #fashiontech buzz and #wearabletech hype. First, the launch of Apple Watch, then the Fashion Weeks in NY, London and Paris featuring tech giants such as Samsung and Intel. Everybody’s seeing huge potential in the wearable market, and all tech brands want a piece of it. Clearly, they have the brains. But do they have the eye for it?
Carine Roitfeld, former Editor-in-chief at French Vogue and current Global Fashion Director at Harper’s Bazaar, told the panellists at the Tech x Fashion Talk powered by Samsung earlier this month:
The problem with technology is it’s a bit cold. It’s a bit sharp.
Ouch. We’ve heard fashionistas across the web saying that existing wearable tech is well, not that wearable. But coming from a fashion authority, that statement makes it a serious issue.
Okay, so the wearable tech market has great potential, but the wearable products have not convinced the masses to actually wear them, because of their “sharp” designs. So the solution to the problem, several industry voices suggest, is to bring the fashion designer’s touch into product design. Because they – and the whole fashion industry, for that matter – understand aesthetics, and they’re very much in tune with why someone would wear something.
It may be that many tech companies have only just realized that. But there’s one in particular that figured this one out a long time ago. Yep, I’m talking about Apple. Nobody really needed an iPhone when they first launched it, remember? But the device looked so cool, that everyone wanted one. Now, they’re taking one step further, and they’re actually bringing in people from the fashion industry to guide their way to the masses. Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry, Nike’s Ben Shaffer, and Yves Saint Laurent’s Paul Deneve – now, that’s couture! – are just the first major fashion names to join the Apple team. I already liked everything about this year’s Apple Watch. With them on board, I can’t wait to see what the company will show off next year.
Speaking of which…
Apple on Apple Watch:
Our goal has always been to make powerful technology more accessible. More relevant. And ultimately more personal. Apple Watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn.
I just love that copy and how personal it gets, almost intimate. It speaks to YOU. Yes, you. The person reading it. And it feels like it’s in perfect harmony with the product itself.
Awe aside, let’s face it. Apple Watch is sleek, cool, and the Apple Watch Edition is even somewhat elegant. But it’s not sophisticated, and it’s definitely not fashionable. However, it is something that many people would wear. And that makes it more fashionable that any other smart device meant for wearing. Yep, Apple has raised the bar yet again, and made people go from wearable tech-what? to wearable tech-want! We could easily say that Apple Watch currently owns the market as the only wearable in the true sense of the word.
Looking at this Apple breakthrough, one cannot help but wonder… What will happen to traditional watch-makers?
Analysts say that when the $399 Apple Watch goes on sale next year, it could crush companies like Fossil that sell traditional watches in the same price range. But it looks like Fossil, who’s also making watches for brands like Marc by Marc Jacobs and Burberry, is already in talks to develop a wearable tech line with Intel. How successful will they be, having the likes of Apple and Samsung as competitors? Well, that remains to be seen. What’s certain now is that they’ve started their transition to becoming more tech.
What do you think of Apple’s influence on wearables? Share your thoughts below.