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How a biometric bra at CES pointed to the future of wearable technology

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Amid the smart watches, fitness bands and other wrist-based devices dominating the wearable tech scene at CES this year, there was… a bra. In a sea of gadgets targeted predominantly to men, one product stood out for the very fact it could be nothing but aimed at women.

The OMbra, as it’s called, is an intelligent sports bra. Created by OMsignal, the team behind the Ralph Lauren PoloTech Shirt, it tracks the biometric basics you’d expect, including heart rate, distance and calories burned. But there also some exclusive metrics created by the company, such as “breathing rhythm” to help moderate your respiratory system and enable you to use less energy when running; “fatigue” to gauge what state of cumulative fatigue your body is in based on previous training; and “biometric effort”, which tells you exactly the level of effort you’ve put into each run.

All of that syncs to your mobile under the new OMrun platform, aiming to help you improve efficiency and performance over time. It also connects with other apps including Apple Health, Strava, Nike+, MapMyFitness and Runtastic.

While those digital aspects are central, key to the delivery of this product, according to OMsignal co-founder and CEO Stephane Marceau, was ensuring it actually functioned as a comfortable and supportive item to wear first and foremost. Significant research was done into biomechanics for instance, focusing on such details as straps being the most common complaints about sports bras, and that the way a woman runs will change depending on how her breasts are supported.

Head over to Forbes to read my full interview with Marceau.

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Digital snippets: Ralph Lauren’s smart shirt, Apple’s fashion execs, fond farewell to DKNY and Oscar PR Girls

We hope you had a great summer break. Here’s what you might have missed over the past month surrounding all things fashion and tech…

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  • Ralph Lauren is bringing its sensory ‘smartshirt’ to market for $295 [Fashionista]
  • Why has Apple been poaching fashion execs? [BoF]
  • As DKNY PR Girl and Oscar PR Girl move on, one writer mourns the death of fashion Twitter [Yahoo! Style]
  • Why Target had the only ad in Vogue’s September issue with a digital edge [Digiday]
  • The world is not enough for Net-a-Porter [The Cut]
  • Zalando is making billions by tailoring its services to European stereotypes [Quartz]
  • Macy’s tests chutes, tablets in dressing rooms to repel Amazon [Bloomberg]
  • Matches Fashion’s stylish leap from touch to touch screen [NY Times]
  • How Neiman Marcus plans to digitise [Digiday]
  • The Dandy Lab: a new menswear concept store enhanced by technology [Grey Fox]
  • Sephora joins the beauty subscription box arena [PSFK]
  • 12 months after launch: how have John Lewis’ geo-location experiments with JLab winner Localz shaped up? [The Drum]
  • Alibaba lands Macy’s as the first US department store for its online portal [Fortune]
  • Why millions in China downloaded L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app [AdAge]
  • How robots are ushering in a new era of retail customer service [Retail Dive]
  • Will luxury smartwatches work? [BoF]
  • This infographic reveals how social and mobile impact back-to-school shoppers [AdWeek]
  • Why fashion and beauty brands love Instagram [Digiday]
  • Periscope now has 10 million users who watch 21 million minutes a day [AdWeek]
  • Can Twitter turn around its story with buy buttons? [The Street]
  • Facebook tests a digital assistant for its messaging app [Bits]
  • Style.com lifts the veil on staffing, strategy ahead of launch [WWD]