Why Google’s partnership with DVF and Net-a-Porter really matters for Glass

DVF_googleglassEvaChen

Lucky editor-in-chief Eva Chen with Diane von Furstenberg wearing the new DVF Made for Glass collection

The big news in the fashion and tech space today, was of course the announcement of Diane von Furstenberg’s new Google Glass frames.

The New York-based designer was the first to take Glass down the fashion week runway in September 2012, now she has unveiled her own designs – prescription lenses available in five different colourways and two sunglass silhouettes in four optional shades.

Better yet, the DVF Made for Glass collection will not only be sold on Google.com/glass but via Net-a-Porter as well. They’ll be available from June 23 and cost $1,700 for the package (Glass, a DVF optical frame, a sunglass style, a mono earbud and a case).

As Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of Net-a-Porter, told WWD: ““When Google Glass walked the runway, I texted the number-two person at Google and said, ‘What’s happening?’ I think it’s fair to say that we were calling their head of marketing consistently to see what can be done.”

As WWD continues, these designs are aiming to appeal to two audiences: women and the fashion set (though Mr Porter will also carry Glass without the DVF branding). Importantly for the wearables market, this is one of the first ever times something has been designed specifically for women.

Fashionista reports: “Over the course of the last few months, Google Glass has been steadily getting more and more fashion-friendly, with the release of four new frames in January and a March announcement that it had partnered with Luxottica to produce Ray-Ban and Oakley-designed frames. Just last month, Google brought on board veteran fashion exec Ivy Ross, who has clocked time at Calvin Klein and Gap, to run the Glass team.”

Arguably focusing on aesthetics – even in a sea of additional complaints about functionality – is a smart move from Google. Doing so with a respected and aspirational brand, as well as such a leading luxury outlet, is better again.

What Glass needs is to reposition itself as an appealing wearable item and not a clunky piece of technology. It needs consumers to believe in it – but not just for the purpose of uptake, rather to help generate greater interest in the technology from a developer perspective. Like your smartphone, a wearable device such as Glass (to a degree) is only as good as the apps you have on it. I have a pair. They’re good, but they don’t do enough yet that I want to wear them constantly.

Proving there’s commercial viability for an item will mean more developers encouraged on board, further apps created, greater functionality enabled, and once again more people like to buy. A virtuous circle. In short, this move from DVF, even if the result isn’t a lasting commercial success, has the potential to be a great catalyst for the future of Glass full stop.

As Robert Scoble, author and start-up liaison for open-cloud computing company Rackspace, said at SXSW this year: “This is one of those products you know is the future, but it’s so unfinished at this point it’s frustrating. It’s three to five years away before it’s really useful.”

dvf_googleglass