Our current overwhelming concern with health and fitness has seen the technology market flooded by apps and devices claiming to help lead us on the right track to a healthier lifestyle. Most recently this craze has been focused on wearable health tech like fitness trackers, aiming to unobtrusively fit into our lives whilst measuring our every movement – which is then presented back to us via our smartphones.
Tech triumph = fashion flop?
However the term ‘wearable technology’ does not primarily scream out glamor or elegance; an important factor to recognise with fitness-concerned consumers, whose external appearance is inevitably important. This leads to the questionable convergence between stylistic appeal and functional technology. Collaborations have been made between tech companies and designers like CSR’s Bluetooth pendant designed by jeweler Celini that actually releases perfume throughout the day. Fitbit has also announced partnering with Tory Burch on products, saying that: “The whole idea here is that people […] want their fitness trackers to be even more fashionable,” and have flagged up the attention to a female audience needing attention. As these devices start to flood into a mass market it is important to recognise the necessary appeal and endorsement that must accompany them in such a pedantic market when it comes to matters of appearance.
The Jawbone UP24 has been called the sleekest wristband tracker appealing for both men and women, but this ‘sleekness’ comes at the cost of a screen, like that of the Fuelband SE and Force. The UP24’s acclaimed fashion forwardness becomes a hindrance in regards to its technical capabilities and its primary function relies on an accompanying app. Alternative to this is the Google glass. A technological innovation highly valued by industry professionals but seeming to fall short in selling to a mass market, fundamentally due to an ascribed ‘geeky appearance’.
The incredible influx of wearable tech looks set to make a mass impact on our lives through its completely innovative abilities. However the permeation and investigation these gadgets require to fulfil their purpose, means they need to be wearable in the first place. Perhaps where it is impossible for tech to follow fashion, a move in the alternative direction is more likely, where fashion goes futuristic. It would not be the first time a trend has stemmed from practicality and function, so wearing this futuristic technology may just be ‘the next big thing’ for the 21st century.
*This post was written by Esme Booth during her work experience with Nitro Digital