Top picks of the most fashionable technology at CES 2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by Tito Chowdhury and Tamara Alazri
The consumer technology world is going through the growing pains of becoming fashionable, while investing a lot of resources in adopting and learning how to do this. It was clearly visible at the CES 2015 show. The FashioNXT "What's Next in Fashion" team has visited the biggest ever exposition for consumer electronics. Each year there seemed to be an exponential leap in the number of fashion-forward, personal technology products shown at this expo, ranging from corporate behemoths to startups. In the maze of the 3,500 booths and the 160,000 people present, our fashion sniffing attention was obviously more drawn to the innovative startups. Here are our fashion forward picks for CES 2015 in different categories. We took the liberty to define the categories in fashion technology. If you see the association between FashioNXT and the many picks of those categories, it’s not just a coincidence. We are that good at proactively identifying the winners and partners.
Most Fashionable Smart Watch
From the looks of it, there were two categories of smart watches: with digital/dial interaction-interface, and without.
Several products that caught our eyes: the uptick of the number of products in this category far surpassed the others. It was exciting to see Samsung Gear S receive the CES Innovation Award. The design team was led by Howard Nuk, head of Industrial Design at Samsung, and a judge of the FashioNXT Wearable Technology Competition.
The pick for most bold attempt in a fashion-forward design for smart watches with digital/dial interface is MICA, an Opening Ceremony design with Intel mobile communication technology. The two designs will surely appeal to the female who likes a certain aesthetic, and evokes a strong emotion -- in favor or against. It ertainly isn't for everyone, but as a high fashion accessory, it's not supposed to be. For a company like Intel which has been programmed to be in the as much of the mass-market products as possible in its core chip business, this is an amazing leap in the fashionable direction -- even if it's to demonstrate a partnership. Intel has a long association with FashioNXT. FashioNXT followers and attendees are perhaps familiar with many of the Intel leaders behind this product—from early stage development to branding and activation.
|MICA Bracelet by Opening Ceremony with Intel|
There was a separate category of wearable products that has completely forgone any digital/dial display features, simply triggering sensing and notifications through light and vibrations. The best part of this category was that it had the option to go after a fashionable look without having to worry about interaction interface or looking too digital. Our top choice goes to Viawear. Designed by a former David Yurman designer, this visually enhancing product can certainly adorn any fashionista, even if they get tired of the technology.
|Viawear 'Tyia' wearable bracelet|
Most Fashionable Merchandising
The Swarvoski+Misfit Wearables showed its supremacy in the fashion retail business by replicating that strength in their wearable tech booth. While many of the other booths exceled in the presentation of their wearable tech products, Swarvoski’s latest Shine Collection delivered an immediate appeal of a modern jewelry store that no other watch or tech gadget could match.
Most Fashion-Forward Charger
In an era where every mobile product needs recharging in the middle of the day, charging fashionably becomes a must have for any fashion maven. We saw different types of recharges from battery stacks to disposable one-time chargers. But the best pick for this year’s charger is QBRACELET by QDesigns, a finalist in the 2014 FashioNXT Wearable Tech Fashion Competition.
|Qbracelet and FashioNXT finalist in the Wearable Tech
Most Likely to Succeed in Fashion
While almost all wearable efforts were focused on accessories, the even bigger frontier will undoubtedly be smart garments —the true wearable that will be fitting our bodies, thus creating more intimacy. As a result it can sense more data and notify back more. Some challenges of wearable apparel include flexibility of the contour and washing. The most exciting product we've seen that addressed both of these challenges is Sensoria. Sensoria created socks engraved with conductive thread that transfers data off of our feet to a data port. The sock has a longevity of 50 washing cycles. Think of the future usage of such threads+sensors in any type of clothing, just waiting to revolutionize the wearable fashion.
|Sensoria Fitness Socks|
3D Printing for Fashion
Year to year, 3D printing has shown a lot more maturity in its growth, compared to the smart-accessories. Two companies have caught the eyes as the leaders in the 3D printing for fashion industry applications. They are 3D Systems, its wide array of fashion accessories, and Materialese for printing intricate and mixed-mode flexible designs. Belgian designer Anouk Wipprecht’s dress was printed in Materialese printer, and made possible by Autodesk software, which was on display at Autodesk booth, as well as at Intel booth were major crowd pleasers. Materialese, in the past has shown 3D printed dresses on the runway by French couture designer Iris Van Herpen.
|3D-printed dresses by 3D Systems||3D-printed dress by Matrialese|
Rideable Tech Fashion
OK, we couldn't resist to coin this category. Personal vehicles are always a staple category in a CES show. As fashion is reigning supreme in all aspects of personal devices, electric vehicles are attempting to do the same, even before wearable tech. While there was a significantly less presence of these products in this show, our best pick of a fashionable scooter is INU (personal urban transportation vehicle). In an interview with us, the co-founder of the Israeli company shared that they followed the ideal design approach of fashionable before technology, and reflected the same sensibility in their immaculate booth design.
|Rideable Tech fashion booth|
The least impressive part of wearable tech shown in the CES2015 show was the lack of impressive new features, almost all of which were a replication or redundance from the smartphone. There is much room to grow in the world of mobile app development taking advantage of its intimate access to our body, hence impacting more of our lifestyle decisions, not just more notifications. Rumor has it that a lot of the companies are holding their cards close due to the impending release of the Apple watch later this year. We are looking forward to an unbelievably bright future in wearable technology.
Stay tuned as we give you more coverage of other exciting, wearable technology products in the future.