Viability & Buyability of Wearable Technology

Typically when doing research for new blog posts and content, I scour the NYTimes style section, pages of GQ and Nylon, peruse local boutiques and ateliers, or stalk runway shows, but with the announcement of increased investment and innovation in wearable technology at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, I am expanding my scope to include tech blogs and releases.

At first I was turned off by the whole idea, and I will admit I am still a little skeptical about the whole idea. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with my clothing and accessories knowing more about my body and my feelings than I do…sometimes I want to eat that extra cookie even though my body isn’t hungry anymore, and sometimes I like being able to deny or reject my feelings. These new devices and technologies have the power to totally destroy the “ignorance is bliss” mentality and force you to confront reality. I can’t imagine I am alone in saying that that scares the shit out of me.

My next thought on wearable technology is whether or not it is actually viable as wearable by fashion’s standards…Some things, like Microsoft’s “Smart Bra“, designed to measure the heart rate and detect emotion, may catch on among women because it’s not something that is outwardly visible (all the time) and even if it is, the design is not really any different from a bra you might find at a department store or Victoria’s Secret. If Microsoft really wants this item to take off, they need to find a way to make the bra aesthetically appealing and keep the costs down. Another wearable technology that has the potential to really blow up are watches(or bracelets) and shoes designed to measure key performance indicators in a workout or athletics. I think a lot of the items being developed will be extremely successful if marketed and directed towards a specific niche group, like genY women, people looking to lose weight, or athletes. However, I just have a hard time imagining major fashion designers compromising their style and design aesthetics for the purpose of incorporating a likely expensive technology into their clothes. Unless these technologies can become somehow invisible to the naked eye, easily embedded and incorporated into the design, and relatively inexpensive to include, I don’t see how wearable technology can be successful in the mass market.

But then again, people have no problem being seen in a headset, earphones, or with their iPhones glued to their palm, so maybe Google Glass and other wearable gadgets do stand a chance… time will tell.

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