wearable tech
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“Clothes speak volumes about us, conveying messages about wealth, taste, and personal beliefs. So in this age of ubiquitous screens and social sharing, it’s no surprise that textiles have become another platform for electronic communication.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Smart Clothes
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“Every so often a nugget of tech news reveals some of the weird and fascinating wearable tech that Samsung is tinkering on: from a smartwatch that can recognize barcodes or read gestures, to a flexible phone you can strap onto your wrist.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Samsung x wearables

ICYMI, Silicon Valley has its own fashion week now. Hosted by Betabrand, the ‘week’ took place over three consecutive nights earlier this month, calling itself the ‘Wackiest Show in Town’ and promising drones, robots and ‘mad inventions.’ And maybe some clothes, too. Confused? Here’s our lowdown on the event that brought some of fashion tech’s brightest thinkers out of the conference hall and onto the catwalk.

The facts:
Taking place from 12-14 May, the event covered ‘Electric Motion’, ‘Wearable Tech’ and ‘Crowdfunded Fashion’. It was set up by Betabrand, the clothing company known for its functional apparel, like the Suitsy (a business suit onesie) and its poop emoji shirts (self-explanatory). According to CEO Chris Lindland, the concept wasn’t so much inspired by the new technology focus that has emerged at recent fashion weeks, but rather the crazy outfits his employees created for Burning Man festival. Other notable participants included Pebble, Misfit Wearables and fibre optics fashion creative Natalie Walsh. On stage, models were joined by drones carrying items on hangers.

The reaction:
Anticipating the snark, Lindland put a deliberate question mark at the end of the event’s name. That didn’t stop certain members of the fashion press from expressing their disbelief. Most memorable was GQ’s John Jannuzzi, writing: “Seriously, tech bros. Stay in your lane, we’ll stay in ours.” Allison P. Davis at the Cut was a little more circumspect, reflecting that the close relationship between fashion and technology demonstrated by brands like Hood by Air and Iris Van Herpen renders this kind of satire a little old. But none of this deterred attendees – the show sold out in two days for all three nights, and there’s no denying that it showed off talent in the Bay Area in a new and interesting way. As Christina Bonnington showed at Refinery 29, a closer looked revealed some pretty desirable and practical items: such as Elektronista’s smart leather clutch, concealing numerous chargers within.

The future:
While he’s unsure if Silicon Valley Fashion Week? will become an annual event, Lindland is certainly preparing for it, revealing that he’s already trademarked the name. Although the fashion press is unlikely to ever be as turned on by the concept, the sheer amount of coverage gave fashion-tech start-ups a new global stage outside the Bay Area – which can only be a good thing.

Reported by Claire Healy

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“Shoppers who rushed to buy the latest idevice, the Apple Watch, when it went on sale in the UK on Friday already have a number of retail apps to choose from. Developers are grappling with the still smaller amount of space available on an Apple Watch screen in their challenge: to find meaningful ways to use a device that’s attached to the wrist and so is always available.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Apple Watch
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“Almost one million people preordered the Apple Watch in the U.S. on its first day, digital commerce data company Slice Intelligence estimates.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Apple Watch

applewatch

As most schoolchildren are told from a young age, A stands for Apple; April, on the other hand, surely stands for the Apple Watch. The industry’s most hotly-anticipated wearable has been preceded by months of speculation – could it sell as well as the iPad on its launch? Will it provide a natural fit for fashion editorials? Now, on the eve of its launch, keen industry-watchers are looking to Baselworld (the watch industry’s international trade fair) for possible rivals. There, a crop of new announcements are proving themselves worthy contenders to the smart watch throne – one which, as we should remind ourselves, Apple hasn’t ascended to quite yet.

 

Coming from the other side of the bridge where technology meets luxury fashion, TAG Heuer have announced their plans this week to release a smart watch by this Christmas. In a significant move against Apple’s projected domination, the first smart watch from the world-famous Swiss watch brand will run on Google’s Android operating system – on a processor, moreover, created by keen wearables power player Intel. You’ll have to wait to find out more, though. At the Baselworld conference, chief executive Jean-Claude Biver told the crowd, “We don’t want the competition to know what we are going to do.”

 

Never easily dismissed, the irrepressible musician-turned-technologist will.i.am also announced a new partnership at Baselworld. KERING-owned Gucci, which recently changed hands from the Gianninis to Alessandro Michele, will also bring its timepieces into a new era through a collaboration with willi.i.am’s range of wearables.

 

For those of you still convinced that Apple’s the only brand that will get you telling the time more smartly, there’s not long to wait: the official release date is slated for UK stores on 24 April, but you’ll be able to order from the 10th. But if Baselworld is anything to go by, the smartwatch marketplace is about to get very interesting.

Writer: Claire Healy

stylecollage

Decoded Fashion hits SXSW Interactive on March 13-17 – in the run-up, we’ll be posting content that gives you a sneak peek of what to expect: including panel sessions, special events and the return of our Mentorship Hub.

Hitting SXSW Interactive over the long weekend? The Decoded Fashion Mentorship Hub should be your first stop: there, you’ll find top execs and creatives from the fashion, retail and beauty world ready to share their expert knowledge and coach startup founders on growing their business. SXstyle, taking place at the JW Marriott Hotel, has plenty more to pique your interest. Get the lowdown on SXSW’s most stylish arm with our essential guide – from screenings to talks, here’s the best of the rest.

The Emperor’s New…Wearables?

This panel will thrash out the notion of devices that will disappear altogether in years to come. Speakers including Brandon Little (CCO, Fossil) and Sandra Lopez (Intel) will discuss how big industry players will make wearable electronics feel increasingly invisible.

(Friday March 13, 12.30pm)

Is there still room for Fashion Blogging?

This panel is inspired by last year’s New York Magazine article by influential fashion critic Robin Givhan, which asked whether the influence of the noughties’ fashion guerrillas is waning in a post-digital age. Presented by Caroline Waxler, founder of Harkness Hall, this talk will explore what’s next for bloggers – how can they stay relevant in a crowded blogosphere?

(Tuesday March 17, 11.00am)

T H E U N S E E N

Taking place at the Austin Convention Centre, this interactive talk and demo session showcase the work of Material Alchemist Lauren Bowker and her team of anatomists, engineers and chemists. Their world aims to collide couture luxury products and science in unforeseen ways – including a recent, color-changing AIR collection. Perfect for those who want to check out the vanguard of material design.

(Monday March 16, 12.30pm)

Full details of Decoded Fashion’s SXSW activities can be found here.

Reported by Claire Healy

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“It’s a Pebble Time, the smartwatch introduced by Pebble Technology on Kickstarter, where it has raised nearly $14 million. I don’t know a lot about #tech, except for my one brush with #wearables during fashion week, but to my uneducated eye they appear almost exactly the same.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Pebble x Apple Watch

weekly

SXSW Interactive is almost here! In the run-up for the festival on March 13-17, it’s time to take a moment to sign up for our special events, featuring new hot startups as well as established brands. And most involve a cocktail or two.

Decoded Fashion hits SXSW this year with the goal to bring the tech networking experience back to face-to-face interaction. Our Mentorship Hub, supported by Simon and Swarovski, will bring together industry gamechangers and those just starting out in 10-minute mentorship meetings.

And if you meet 10 rising stars in the Fashion + Tech space, register to attend the event on Friday presenting the winners of Simon’s startup competition, followed by Decoded Fashion’s Networking Party. Our global #DFMeetup series lands in Austin to help you mingle with the biggest names in fashion & Tech.

Saturday is content day – with five sessions to pick from at the JW Marriott Hotel. We’ll start the day talking about disruption in brands with HFarm, one the largest startup incubators in Europe, John Lewis, a retailer innovating through R&D, hacks and startup collaboration and our own Liz Bacelar, creator of the world’s first fashion hackathon. Also, don’t miss the ‘Meet the New Retail Disruptors’ showcase at 2pm, discussing the most innovative tech in retail – what matters and what doesn’t.

After all that mingling you might be ready for a digital detox. On Sunday, March 15, the suited and booted guys over at menswear start-up Combatant Gentlemen will be around to show you their innovative design-to-delivery model firsthand – along with a complementary massage.

On Monday, March 16 at 2pm, Cortexica, an industry leader in image recognition and Visual Search Technology, will be on hand to demonstrate their algorithmic findSimilar™ technology – and explain why it’s set to change the future of shopping. To end the day on the more style-focussed end of the spectrum is globally feted jewellery designer Kendra Scott, will be showcasing her new jewellery collection on a living garden wall at 5pm.

Full details of Decoded Fashion’s SXSW activities can be found here.

Reported by Claire Healy

Image: SXSW 2014

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“We’ve all been there. You rush out of the house to catch the train to work, elbow your way into a seat and immediately reach for your smartphone. But it isn’t there. Cue sense of panic as you contemplate a day (an hour!) without being connected.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Wearable Tech
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