The Growth of Wearable Tech

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Remember when fashion was just about clothing? Maybe you could also include hairstyle and makeup in that bracket too. But now there are a whole bunch of other items, accessories and styles that fit into fashion. You may think that this change has been gradual but it’s always been there. The items we own have always been a part of fashion. Take the car for instance. When the first cars were marketed, people who could afford them were instantly more fashionable. They were at the highest peak of society. Then as the market progressed different brands of cars appeared. Some were more fashionable than others. This was partly due to their cost but also the power and appeal attached to the name.

However, I don’t think it’s true to say that anything has grown more in fashion than technology. I suppose, once tech was small enough to carry around, it was inevitable. The technology was going to become a huge part of fashion. But it’s not until recently that we have truly seen the impact of this change. In this post, I hope to examine how technology has affected fashion trends and the fashion industry in a whole variety of ways. But let’s start where it all began.

The Mobile Phone

Are you old enough to remember when the first cell phone arrived on the market? I’m not talking about the massive ones that you carried around in the back of your car. Or the huge brick that Zach had on saved by the bell? I mean the phones that were properly mobile. The ones that you could carry around in your purse or your pocket. They sure have come a long way since then haven’t they? The first cell phones weren’t designed to be cool, stylish or attractive. They were designed to work, to function and to be durable.

But, at the end of the 90’s things started to change. Marketers realised that as tech changed phones could be made smaller, thinner. Arguably they could be made to be more fragile and easier to damage. However, consumers largely accepted this change because suddenly phones were stylish. They were modern and cool. They became a fashion accessory and everyone wanted one.

The punch came when the first iPhone was announced. After the success of the iPod, Apple were keen to profit off the lucrative cell phone market. And boy did they ever. The iPhone was a huge hit that has paved the way cell-phones have been styled to this day. You will get the random odd duck but mostly all phones look remarkably similar. Make no mistake, though, Apple was the first and is still one of the most popular.

Then came the growth of customization. It wasn’t enough to have a cool, sleek phone. You needed to personalise it a little and show it’s yours. A couple of years ago there was a huge trend for girls to give their phone some bling with glitter and sparkles. Tacky, perhaps, but it was certainly seen as fashionable at one point. Today you can get a whole bunch of different cases for your phone. So if you buy an iPhone 6, you’ll immediately be looking to purchase the best iPhone 6 case.

Of course, it didn’t just stop with cell phones. Tablets were the next big craze and, of course, the same thing happened. Apple and a number of different producers started to make products to be sleek, thin and stylish. They are not going to stop either. Already rumours are emerging that Apple is planning to remove the headphone jack in their phone to make the seven even slimmer.

Some people claim that while this tech trend has been interesting for the fashion industry, it’s damaged innovation. While this is debatable, there is certainly a lot of evidence to support this argument.

However, as I said, I don’t believe we truly started to see the integration of tech and fashion until recently.

Smart Watches

Smart Watches started to hit the market late 2014 and have continued to be a trend ever since. Are they as successful as producers had hoped? Perhaps not. Let’s face it, who’s going to spend an extra three hundred so they can check the time on their wrist rather than the phone. And if you’re going to do that, why not just get a normal watch. It’s still unclear how great the impact of the smartwatch is going to be on the market.

But I predict that the available tech hasn’t allowed it to be as thin as it needs to be. If you’re going to wear a piece of tech on your wrist, it needs to be smaller than the typical watch. It needs to be sleek, similar to what we’ve seen in science fiction movies. However, when tech reaches that point and it will, I think we will see the public welcome this concept. It will be the first piece of technology that is completely integrated into fashion.

What’s Next?

 

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Finally, it’s interesting to look at the future of technology and fashion. Recently, we have seen the push of VR technology and this can be used by adding a device to your phone. However, if you have seen the tech it looks truly ridiculous. It looks like something that you would have expected the 80’s tech industry to produce. Certainly it is not the beautiful tech future we were promised nor the one that we hoped for. Again, I think these devices are going to have to be smaller and sleeker before they are embraced.

On that note, I recently read an article about how Star Trek has predicted many tech items we have today. This includes video calling, tablets and touch phones. The last prediction on the list was a concept similar to Google Glass. Google Glass disappeared from development early this year, losing its release date. The last update claimed it was being revamped for the public market. While some think Glass will quietly be forgotten, I think it will reappear next year. When it does, it may very well be the latest piece of tech that slips into the world of fashion.

The rise of wearable tech – is fashion behind this growing fashion?

Wearable tech is gathering pace. From watches to glasses, there is something that everyone seems to be wearing or investing in. What were once seen as a ‘little too techy’, are now seen as essential elements of fashion.

But wearable tech is not the same to everybody as an episode from the Apprentice showed. With flashing lights and solar panels, the resulting products lacked finesse and mass appeal but, it did show one thing – that people are now seriously thinking of wearable tech in fashionable terms.

And tech is relying on fashion too. In fact, it would seem that the driving force behind creating the necessary mass appeal that the mobile phone and computing companies is fashion. If it looks odd, or out of place, customers are not buying it.

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So what wearable tech is making it in terms of fashion?

Apple Watch

Apple Watch is the first foray in to the world of wearable tech for this computing giant. It is proving to be a fantastic piece of wearable technology, that functions like they say it will but its appeal is certainly in keeping with current fashion trends.

Apple has set the scene in any ways, as it is the first major tech company to have collaborated with the fashion world in creating a piece of wearable technology. And it was no afterthought either.

Apple worked with top designers from the world go so apart from getting the best in terms of fashion input in to their product, they also harnessed the power of the fashion world behind its product. As leather makes a comeback for 2015, Apple has a watch with high end leather straps and gold finish, something that the fashion world has coo-ed over.

And the marriage between the Apple Watch and the fashion world seems set to carry on blossoming, even after the honeymoon period. Liu Wen, the supermodel that graced the cover of Vogue in China wearing an Apple Watch is just one big name to be genuinely interested in the tech. Renowned designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour have also been spotted taking a fashionable view of the watch too.

Google Glass

Another giant in the tech world is Google and this company have made it one of their missions to drive wearable technology into the mainstream, with smart glasses.

The limited release of Google Glass in 2013 was greeted with much clamouring for more but, there were some detractors who thought that the glasses would not be something people would want to wear in public.

And the concern was one we have heard before – they looked too techny, too gooky to be mainstream, especially beyond the lax boundaries of the metropolis. What is acceptable in one place, can look too odd and out of place in smaller towns and cities.

Google realised the answer to the dilemma. Teaming up with designer Diane von Fursenberg, a whole range of fashionable Google Glasses products were created and launched. They were on trend and on budget too, thus increase the availability and accessibility for people interested in this kind of wearable technology.

However, concerns remain that they still look and feel a little too technological but, their appeal is beginning to take off.

 

Fitbit Flex

Fitness wearable tech is big business. Wearing gear that can help track your progress and suggest improvements and so forth, is bigger business that anyone thought it would be and the Fitbit Flex has fit right in to this niche.

And here in lies the rub – many people want fitness accessories that they can wear every day. Traditionally, fitness gear also takes on the hues of bright pinks, reds and yellows and yet, this is not suitable for the workplace, for many.

But, the stride to work every morning, or the run or the cycling commute is part of someone’s fitness regime and so they want to wear the tech.

Again Fitbit teamed up with a designer partner, Tory Burch in this case, to create wearable tech that did the job, but looked great with everyday casual and work wear, and not just exercise gear.

But they have been clever to realise that customers may want both and thus, there is a split in the design range too. Patterned silicone bracelets are for those that want the brightness, and the high-end looking brass bracelets have proved popular.

And it is not just tech firms that are nudging in to the wearable tech market…

Fashion giant Ralph Lauren has seized the initiative by announcing the Polo Tech Shirt. Designed for use during exercise, it has various sensors that collect the wearer’s biometric data from heart rate to calories burnt and so on. This data is transmitted to the smart phone app for analysis and so forth.

No new exactly, but certainly the first from a powerhouse of a fashion giant and was a short demonstrated during the US Tennis Open, 2014 by American player Marcos Giron. It is expected to launch in 2015, with a £125 price tag. The expectations are that other fashion brands will take not and follow suit.

Wearable technology seems to be a fashion that is here to stay. Who know what we will be wearing in years to come? This article was written by www.elesclothing.co.uk

Making the Miles disappear with Lebara

In these days when migration is such a potent news story, it is sometimes very easy to forget that we are talking about people, who are faced with a new life, in a strange land, often leaving all family and friends behind. For those people, having the means of communicating with their loved ones is an important part of being able to successfully find that new life. That is why the work and services now being offered by international telecommunications brand Lebara is so, so important and vital.

Lebara started as an international communications company in 2001, but in recent years the services they have offered have become crucial to the migrant communities in the UK and beyond. They offer an excellent phone service which includes a free SIM for high-quality, low-cost international calls, including free Lebara to Lebara calls. They also have an award-winning multi-lingual customer service, something else that is so important, especially for those speaking English as a second language.

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Being able to keep in touch with your roots, with your loved ones, and just being able to talk in your native tongue is just so important when you are living and working overseas. How many of us cherish a phone call to our loved ones when we go on holiday for just a couple of weeks? So a service that can re-connect you without extortionate costs is a great innovation. Lebara is just that.

My father-in-law was an Italian immigrant to the United Kingdom in the early 1960s, leaving behind his parents and siblings. Over the years he has made numerous trips home, and takes a real pleasure in phoning home and being able to chat to his family in Italian (this is even more important as his children do not speak the language.) The main problem with phoning Italy more regularly has always been the cost of the call, which means real news sharing and in-depth chatter is not always an option. This is true of today’s migrant community, so having a service that also allows you to buy minutes that you can send abroad, so your family can contact you, is also a pretty fantastic idea, and yet another string to the Lebara bow.

My boy Joe with his Italian grandad Den

My boy Joe with his Italian grandad Den

In Sorrento, Italy the last time we visited.

In Sorrento, Italy the last time we visited.

Lebara has just launched a new website aimed at helping people connect and are continually launching new products, with an entertainment service to view content from home launching very soon. This new site targets 20 different country experiences in 11 different languages. So now had never been a better time to check out all the company has to offer