2014, the year of... wearable technology

We wear our hearts on our sleeves, but what about our hard drives? From fibre optic dresses at Fashion Week to entire 3D-printed collections, i-D investigates why 2014 was the year of wearable technology.

by Emily Manning
27 December 2014, 8:20am

It's no secret that the wearable tech craze got off to a bumpy start. Chunky, clunky early smart products looked more like they were swiped from Judy Jetson's closet rather than the set of Spike Jonze's Her. Sure Silicon Valley "glassholes" were excited to sportGoogle's ultra intelligent eyewear, but before FKA twigs provided a chic tutorial in her "#throughglass" music video, the fashion world was less than sold on the frames. But when technology firms finally began to realise that wearable technology had to actually be wearable, we found ourselves in the throes of a full-on future fashion frenzy where solar powered phone charging jackets and invisible bike helmets now exist IRL.

While a slew of savvy marketing departments tried masquerading their glorified fuel bands as groundbreaking smart devices, 2014 saw a number of products that really did marry fashionable form with technological function. Apple courted industry insiders by staging a one day Paris Fashion Week pop-up at Colette to reveal a first look at its sleek Apple Watch, with A-list admirers like Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, and Suzy Menkes stopping by to try it on.

For his spring/summer 15 collection, Richard Nicoll used a little pixie dust - a fibre optic fabric activated by high intensity LED receptors - to bring a Tinker Bell-inspired wispy slip dress to life on the London Fashion Week runway. Rag & Bone gave us a new view of NYFW by incorporating personal GoPro cameras into its spring/summer 15 show. The brand produced a series of streamline leather cross-body pouches to house the small devices, then switched on the GoPros to get a look at the runway from the models' perspectives.

Opening Ceremony partnered with Intel, New York's dynamic duo of Carol Lim and Humberto Leon produced MICA, or My Intelligent Communication Accessory. MICA enables users to stay connected by displaying SMS messages, Facebook and Google notifications, events, and meeting alerts directly (and discreetly) on its user's wrist. But more exciting than MICA's features is its design; the device's semi-precious stones, snakeskin band, and 1.6-inch sapphire touch screen make it almost indistinguishable from a bracelet that can't schedule your Tinder dates.

3D printing also made leaps and bounds this year with 29-year-old Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen leading the charge. With a little help from her friends at MIT's Media Lab, Van Herpen has mastered the art of 3D printing, employing the emerging technology to create breathtaking, intricate, sculptural collections that have become highlights of Paris Fashion Week. "The huge advantage of 3D printing is that there are no complications or limitations in terms of 3-Dimensionality or complexity," Van Herpen explained to i-D in an interview earlier this year. "Everything imaginable is possible."


Text Emily Manning
Photography Collier Schorr courtesy of Opening Ceremony

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