Most of us are familiar with wearable technology by its clunky and square form. But in 2015 wearable designers are trying to merge fashion with function to address the design barriers that are holding wearable back from being accepted mainstream.
While we tend to think of Fitbit and Google Glass as wearable devices that can help us get in shape and discover information about the world around us, a Nielsen study says that only about 15 percent of consumers currently use wearable tech. And, although nearly half of Americans surveyed expressed their interest in purchasing wearable tech in the near future, 62 percent said they wish wearables came in forms besides wrist bands and watches, and 53 percent wanted wearable devices that look more like jewelry.
The bottom line is, when it comes to wearables consumers want the best of both worlds. There’s a growing market for wearable’s that seamlessly integrates technology with life and doesn’t scream, “I’m a smartwatch.”
Interestingly, most wearable technologies have failed to live up to the hype but people are still in awe of its potential. In 2013, investors put an estimated $458 million into wearable technology, according to analyst group CB Insights. In 2014, Ralph Lauren introduced a stylish form-fitting black nylon -shirt that reads activity, such as the steps and how long you’re active, breathing and heart rate and delivers it all in real-time to your Bluetooth-connected smartphone. “Everyone is exploring wearable tech watches and headbands and looking at cool sneakers,” Mr. Lauren said during an interview with the New York Times. “We skipped to what we thought was new, which is apparel. We live in our clothes.”
Also on a mission to bring together fashion and technology with a functional design aesthetic is Wearable Experiments, a socially driven wearable technology company. Most recently the company introduced NAVIGATE, a clothing line of city-specific, location-enabled apparel dedicated to Paris, New York and Sydney. Embedded into each garment are pieces of hardware that vibrate when you need to turn left or right and can be used to explore a city walking or riding a bike.
So, what else can we look forward to in 2015?
The wearable technology will take new shape, form and fashion.
Reportedly, Apple is hiring a fashion-focused store staff for its multi-tasking digital watch set to launch in Spring 2015. With a focus on sleek and fashionable design, Apple has been positioning the Apple Watch as more of a piece of jewelry than just another smartwatch. The device landed the cover of Vogue China and Apple’s design chief Jony Ive traveled to Paris to give famed fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld a closer look at the gadget.
According to Tech analysts from Gartner, Smartwatches will be more popular than fitness bands in 2015, with the market growing from 18 million sold this year; to 21 million next year; but the “smart garment” will be the gamechanger for the next few years. The firm’s figures show a huge spike in smart clothing sales, going from non-existent in 2014, more than 10 million in 2015, and 26 million in 2016.
The countdown to 2015 starts now. Are you ready for the wearable technology revolution?