Fashion or Function: Is wearable technology suffering from an identity crisis?

team_Kevin_w  Written by Kevin Winfield

Wearable technology has become a hot topic over the past year; with tech and fashion commentators and consumers all weighing in on the subject and asking the question, “who is actually going to wear it?”

The Guardian recently published a piece highlighting the fact that hundreds of Galaxy Gear smartwatches and fitness trackers were listed on eBay just six months after launch. Is the appeal of these technologies already wearing off? Or was the appeal even there in the first place?

An interesting article published by The Drum suggested that wearable technology is currently being held back by a design barrier that, unless addressed, will keep general consumers at bay. Although it is still a relatively new idea, these design issues need to be resolved otherwise wearable technology could fail to realise its full potential and break into the mainstream.

Fashion and technology as industries share many similar qualities – both are forward-thinking, bold and innovative yet the two seldom come together. Some critics have pointed out that one of the main challenges wearable technology faces is that it feels too “forced and disjointed” for the sake of innovation.

Wearable tech seems to be currently suffering from an identity crisis of not knowing whether it’s meant to be fashionable or functional and therefore often resulting in being neither. However, with Google announcing its partnership with Ray-Ban and Apple bringing Burberry’s former CEO onboard, it seems to be a step in the right direction.

In order to help wearable technology successfully integrate into mainstream culture, collaborations between tech developers and fashion houses should be encouraged and more frequent. This is the only way to ensure that the next generation of wearable technology will be more successful in combining style and function without making the general public look like the cast of an 80’s sci-fi film.