Fashion & Beauty

Wearable Tech

It’s 2016 and if anything is changing, it’s fashion. Georgina Crespi looks at the phenomenon of fashion technology and what it has to offer in the digital age.
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Imagine being able to charge your smartphone with your clothes? Well, in the future that might be a thing. Using flexible solar panels, two companies have started producing clothing and accessories that can charge devices. Start-up company Wearable Solar is trying to make lightweight clothes that will be able to charge a smartphone up to 50% once worn in the sun for a full hour.

In the world of fitness trackers, FitBits and similar brands have already covered the basics. However, new in town label WellBe is built to help detect stress as well as help you shed some lbs simultaneously, all with the aid of a built-in heart rate monitor; observing your stress levels based on interactions. This also comes in mobile app form which details the causes of stress levels, helping you to monitor your day to day interactions. The wide range of health and wellbeing benefits WellBe gadgets have to offer is exactly why they’re high in usefulness to a vast majority of people.

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For the bold and brave, Rainbow Winters’ Thunderstorm Dress is a unique design that has created a storm of interest. Responding to sound and light, it’s constructed with holographic leather and sound-reactive panels so as volume increases the lighting bolts appear. The mastermind behind the label, Amy Winters, claims the pieces are made ‘for performers and performances to express the aesthetic and emotive capabilities of technology’, which truly is transforming clothes into technological works of art.

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Next in line is Ying Gao’s genius clothing range, consisting of dresses that magically change, all with the power of the eyes. Fitted inbuilt tiny motors on the fabric in the dress move around when looked at and also glow if gazed upon for long enough. Picture the fabric changing as you walked down the stairs, all eyes on you, and this time it’s not because you’ve got something in your teeth.

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Straying away from clothing, Bellabeat LEAF’s smart jewellery tracks steps taken, sleeping pattern and ovulation, with focus on reducing your stress levels. Sport the device around your neck to make a statement or follow breathing exercises through their mobile app to chill out.

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PREDICTING THE FUTURE

Wearable tech has come a long way in 2015. Health conscious tech geeks can breathe a sigh of relief as brands like LEAF and WellBe have got it covered. From January this year and beyond we might even see products from Rainbow Winters and Ying Gao coming to the high street. With Nike revealing their Back to the Future self-lacing shoes there is clearly a growing market and interest emerging in 2016, and the progress made in 2015 is proof that the future will only be amazing. Before long, fashion savvy students will be donning eye-tracking dresses for a night at FLUX for the ultimate eye-catching (literally) statement. Outfits which will move when glanced at and glow in the dark on the way home at 3am, what’s not to love?

In terms of existing technology, we’re still far from perfecting products like the Google Glass which has often been labeled as ‘ugly’ in terms of design. If made more practical and fashionable in the future though, there is definite potential for it to be of actual use. Keeping your outfit on point, you would still be able to find your destination with Maps and chat with friends on messenger, all without draining your data allowance. While many of the devices that charge phones are not developed yet, this would be huge. No more soul destroying 1% iPhone battery leaving you in a state of despair, no more rushing to find a plug socket, and no more getting lost if your phone dies; Google Maps will still be there to lovingly guide you home. Overall this invention will make our tech-orientated lives a whole lot easier. Whilst, some companies have already done this with backpacks, they’re not very stylish and hands-on to walk around with, and are rather more suitable for hikers. A night without stress of keeping your battery over 20% means a night truly lived with more time for group selfies and lip singing for Dubsmash with your mates.

Technology is making its way into fashion and onto the runway in the near future. Winters’ work was featured at Kinetica Artfair where she bagged a nomination for Designer Of The Year at The Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. Recognition of such hybrid pieces only goes to highlight how wearable technology is the next big thing. The wait for more advanced wearable technology is on and there is no doubt that it’s slowly changing the world of fashion as we know it.

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