Gadgets and gizmos have become an increasingly part of our everyday lives in recent years. After all, can we really imagine our daily lives without the use of Ipads and Iphones? Now it seems the fashion world has taken this reliance a step further and we are now using mobile technology to enhance our lives through shopping experiences to the very clothes we wear.
Attendees at the 2014 London Fashion Week weren’t sure whether they were watching a fashion show or Apple’s latest iPhone launch when they saw top models strutting down the catwalk covered in mobile phones. Steve Jobs never did this!
But while this is a burgeoning trend, there have been several inventions that have particularly caught the eye of fashion organisations and mobile technology companies worldwide. Here are just a few of them.
The Smartphone Skirt
One recent fashion show saw the debut of the first skirt to be made from smartphones. This is a joint project between Finnish fashion designer Fyodor Golan, and creative design house Kin. Created by sewing handsets from the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020 in to natural fabrics, this garment may be creative, but it is also rather impractical, as, unsurprisingly, the poor model wearing the skirt struggled to stay comfortable under the weight of all the plastic handsets dragging the fragile natural fabrics down.
However, this is not just a design for novelty’s sake, as there are artistic intentions behind it too. The phones have been strategically included inside the clothing so that they work together to create the illusion of one whole image which is altered whenever the model moves between bright and dark lightning.
Annie Kearney, from Nokia Brand Lab has spoken of the company’s approval at their design: “We wanted to experiment with the possibilities between fashion and technology…it’s so much more than a skirt made of phones, it’s playing with the idea of how tech can influence and be influenced by the world around it.”
Another ground-breaking/crazy design which has yet to fully entice the fashion elite is a hat that uses mobile technology to track the progress made by runners during a jog. Designs include the Jawbone Up and Nike FuelBand from Canadian firm Pixmob. The hats are controlled via wireless transmitters that allow PixMob to alter the colour, brightness and pulse of the lights.
The weight involved in this design does not exactly make it ideal for jogging conditions, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming popular with sporting spectators, as Pixmob supplied 80,000 attendees at the 2014 Superbowl with these LED tech hats so that they lit up the stadium similar to how glow-sticks or lighters work, thereby creating a spectacular during the halftime show. A variation of this technology was prominent at the Sochi Winter Olympics when the crowd became part of the show by wearing bright tech medallions around their necks.
The Mobile Fahion Bag
Another fashion tech invention with practical usage is the invention of the so-called ‘iBag’, a handbag with Arduino processor and RFID (radio-frequency identification) devices built into it so that it instantly locks and prevents a user from using it the moment they overspend on the budget logged into the software.
This is a genuinely useful device created by Australian comparison site Credit Card Finder. It works by using a tag mounted at the base of the bag which can identify and track your credit card spending. The bag also comes with a clock which is intended to lock the bag at specific times, ideally when the user is most likely to need to be shopping. Whenever a shopper finds themselves preparing to spend more than they can allow, an LED light illuminates inside the bag, having been triggered by a GPS chip. This technology also allows a friend of the user to receive a text message encouraging them to stop the user from making any further spending decisions.
Stopping people from spending may not be what most companies want from a product, but Credit Card Finder spokeswoman Michelle Hutchinson believes this invention will improve customer and company relations: “It is designed to help people who are really out of control with their spending”.
However, with a retail price tag of 199 Australian dollars (£107) this spending prevention bag is ironically not exactly the most modest of purchases. Credit Card Finder are currently waiting for the bag to generate enough interest from the public so that it can go into full scale production.
These mobile technologies are ground breaking, but that doesn’t mean they won’t suffer from the same problems that regular mobile phone charges entail, like data roaming charges. What will the technology and fashion industries collaborate on next?
Liam Brennan is a blogger who recommends RoamingExpert.com for accesing the best packages for data roaming in Europe.