May 24, 2012

Ahead of the Fashion

With technology advancing at the speed of light, we are already living in the future – just have a look at the Mars exhibition. And not only are we living in the future, but wearing it too. So what can we expect in 2012 and moving forward, as technology continues to drive tomorrow’s fashion?

photo via The NY Times

Well, we already have smart phones, and now we have smart watches too! Sony recently released its SmartWatch that does everything from displaying caller IDs, text messages, and social media feeds to the weather and of course the time by syncing to its Xperia phone model as well as with most Android phones. Again, it's all about pure convenience but this convenience has its limits, as the gadget uses bluetooth capabilities to link to your phone in about a 30 feet radius. In a meeting and can't check your messages or are your hands too full to pull your phone out of your bag? Well, just glance over at your vibrating watch instead! Not to mention, it comes in a range of fun colored bands and it's touchscreen face is discreet and completely user friendly.

photo via Springwise

So since the day has come where we are almost completely dependent on our smart phones, designer Richard Nicoll and Vodafone have collaborated to ease our worries when that dreaded "low battery" message pops up on our screens by introducing a new phone-charging handbag. The bag can be charged normally from any outlet and can charge Blackberry, iPhone, and Android devices for at least two days via a cable hidden in one of the pockets. Not to mention, an LED light installed in the bag illuminates to display calls, messages, and battery life. This is probably the only extra charge you look forward to having!

video via Ecouterre

However when that's all charging (meaning your phone and your newly phone-charging bag that is), just put your hand up to your ear and talk on the telephone! Glove One, is a 3D printed gadget that "in order to use one must sacrifice their hand." Innovation has gone past traditionally fusing fashion and technology by looking at the potential capabilities of our physical bodies as their own external devices. All we have to say is talk to the hand!

Are you one of those people who lights up in front of a camera? Well, now you can be, literally. With Ricardo O'Nascimento's interactive dress, Paparazzi Lover, that flashes 62 embedded LED lights when it's being photographed, you're sure to be your own celebrity. Why steal the spotlight when you can be the spotlight!

photo via Springwise

We can't discuss fashion and technology and not mention at least one textile innovation especially with so many great things happening! Odegon, a UK based nano-materials company has designed an iron-on/sew in product called DeOdourTags that according to the company serves as "the only inert, non-allergenic, odourless, long lasting, base neutral, environmentally friendly solution to body odour." These nano-porous fabric tags are placed into the underarms of garments and remain effective for the entire life of the garment withstanding washes and wear.

photo via

We all dance around by ourselves in the privacy of our own homes (and maybe in the car) but now with music triggered technology, maybe we'll be doing it in the fitting room as well. Cotton on Clothing has designed jeans that with "try on your sound" technology activates a sensor that plays style specific music as you test the fit and comfort of their sound wired denim collection. This approach to "smart clothing" is a pretty revolutionary approach to capture Gen Y consumers who typically express themselves through a combination of both fashion and music.

video via Mashable

In reference to our blog a few weeks ago, Now or Never, how is the demand to live in real time affecting both fashion and technology? One company that is reacting is the major retailer C&A as they introduce clothing hangers that display feedback for each style hanging on the rack based on the number of "likes" the look has on Facebook. Now, not only can you get the advice of present sales personnel, friends and family via picture messages, but a general Facebook consensus as to which styles are the most popular. While we really "like" this idea of social shopping by combining real time with Facebook, the one concern we have is how is C&A maintaining that the correct look is on the right hanger? 

video via The NY Times

Speaking of real time and social networking platforms, Google is looking at the future through new lenses with their Project Glass, an innovative approach that incorporates computing into eyewear. These so called "reality glasses" can do everything from sending and receiving messages to streaming information like maps and directionals to taking pictures with its built in camera and video features, all through voice commands nonetheless. While the glasses are just in the prototype stages, this concept exposes us to a completely new way of incorporating technology into our daily lives. Maybe one day in the future, the separation between reality and the digital world will simply be no more.

As fashion and technology continually fuse together with more and more cutting edge "smart" products under experimentation on the regular, the line between the two grows fainter. Who knows what our perception of reality will be a few months from now let alone a few years. Technology is constantly evolving to help us better interpret and understand the world around us and that includes trying to make things simpler and more convenient. We keep throwing all these innovative ideas out into the world, but now we are actually savvy enough to make these experimental breakthroughs a reality. As we continue to invent and push the limits on what our capabilities are, where will we take technology, and more importantly where will it take us?

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