It wasn’t long ago that all of our homes played host to big, ugly boxes from companies like HP and Dell that we called “computers.” We accepted them because they were so useful despite the fact that they clashed with our interior decor.
Then along came a company called Apple and changed all that. Apple and its enigmatic founder Steve Jobs proved that tech products didn’t have to be ugly boxes. They could be sleek and sexy and objects we were proud to own. Before long, practically every other company in the world was trying to do the same - appealing to aesthetics rather than mere function.
Nobody really managed to pull it off. Nokia tried with its Scirocco, but the phone was little more than an overpriced 8310 with a metal backplate. Then HTC came along with the HTC One nearly a decade later, promising to redefine design in the mobile space. It did a good job with its outward facing speakers, but it was still playing second fiddle to Apple’s iPhone. In fact, it’s only recently with the release of the Samsung S7 Edge and S8 that we’ve seen serious competitions from Apple’s rivals.
What this all essentially means is that fashion and tech are on a collision course. Already the market for fashionable tech products is expanding thanks to companies like Dulccio. But we can expect a lot more growth in the sector as consumer electronics are seen less as “tech” and more as accessories.
We Already Wear Our Tech
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that technology is becoming more fashionable. These days we practically “wear” our technology, even if it isn’t strictly speaking wearable. Mobile phones are rarely more than a couple of inches from our bodies and tablets are often lying around our home, adorning our furniture like precious ornaments. Once consumers get it out of their heads that tech has to be ugly - which they are doing very rapidly - then the whole industry will change, and it’ll be forced to make its products as attractive as luxury soap and candle gift boxes.
In the not-so-distant future, the nature of technology will change again. Tech magazines, like Techcrunch, have recently been asking what comes next after the smartphone. Essentially, it’s tech that we will wear and can be activated using either voice commands or thoughts directly from our brains. If this new generation of technology is wearable, then the same rules will apply as do in the fashion industry. In short, it’ll have to be gorgeous, and companies will have to entice us to buy it, not based on product specifications, but on whether it looks good or not. Ultimately, these products won’t be called smart clothing or “wearables,” they’ll just be called what their non-smart brethren are called today: pants, vests, skirts, glasses, wristbands and so on.
Though they might seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, the fashion and tech industries are going to have to find a way to talk to each other if they want to remain profitable. It’ll be interesting to see how those conversations go.
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