What Lies Ahead for Wearable Technology?

Diane von Furstenberg wearing Google Glass

Diane von Furstenberg wearing Google Glass

The future of wearable technology is a mystery. While it is believed that by 2018 the market for wearable devices will have gone beyond $30-$50 billion, it’s still uncertain what that market will consist of. We already have watches and glasses that can peruse the Internet, what’s next?

Last Wednesday, at Bryant Park’s Andaz Hotel, CFDA members spent time discussing this very question. They met with executives from Intel, a company that is working along side the fashion industry to make technology function within clothing happen.

According to Ayse Ildeniz, head of business development for Intel’s New Devices Group, “analysts predict that there will be 50 billion smart things by the year 2020.”

“In order to get to that number, we need creators and innovators,” she continued. Intel is looking for its next collaborator after hooking up with Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York in January to create a bracelet that will be available this upcoming fall.

The black bracelet is a Nike Fuel bracelet.

The black bracelet is a Nike Fuel bracelet.

A few designers share their opinions on the current wearable technology market. “Wearing tech is not that cool,” said Pamela Love, jewelry designer. She continues, “it needs to be something completely invisible. Something that’s seamless.” Love highlights that there’s a lot of consumer data to be taken advantage of from “smart” pieces of jewelry. It is just as beneficial for the designer as it is for her client. “To be able to see how frequently a woman wears one of our pieces, how long it sits on the table for, that’s the kind of data that could help me,” she said. “Right now, I can only see what the buyers buy.”

There is contention within the industry, as experimenting with wearable technology is not a high priority on a lot of company’s lists. Although there is frustration, designers had many of suggestions on how to solve this problem creatively. Sam Shipley, co-designer of contemporary menswear label Shipley & Halmos, offered that wearable technology should be used to make textiles smarter, while others expressed excitement about the anti-counterfeiting applications. Just think about, instead of relying on a paper card, the industry could embed a Chanel bag with a chip in order to determine authenticity.

No one is quite sure on how the market will gain to $30 billion in the next few years, but for now at least the CFDA is working to engage designers with technology companies, like Intel. It’s important to get the conversation started now, in order to ensure a strong presence in time. Imagine what the future has in store. Anything is possible.

By Alexa Pizzi

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