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The future of fashion: 10 wearable tech brands you need to know

emel and aris - wearable tech
Emel + Aris

When we think about wearable technology today, the first thing to come to mind is still clunky wrist-worn devices – smart watches and fitness trackers that no matter how hard they try, haven’t yet truly nailed looking like something we all want to wear everyday. In fact, that “fashion” aspect of wearables continues to have a really long way to go in terms of true integration in our lives.

Didn’t we all imagine we’d have completely connected wardrobes by now? As Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, said to me for a story in Wired UK: “It’s 2016, where’s our smart clothing? Where is it?”

Indeed, “fashion tech” as a term rarely means anything close to what we actually put on each morning and rather still relates to things like dresses that light-up – beautiful Cinderella gowns that enhance the wearer on their journey along the red carpet for instance (Met Gala anyone?). Or lingering memories like that of Google Glass and its collaboration with Diane von Furstenburg… Say no more.

As a starting point, all of these launches have been incredibly important in terms of experimentations that lead the industry forward, but they also do a relative disservice to “wearable technology” as a category to be taken seriously in fashion.

So what are the solutions that are going to win? Head over to Forbes for an outline of 10 brands to be aware of in the rather small but fashionable wearable tech space. There’s Google’s Project Jacquard jacket with Levi’s, Emel + Aris, The Unseen, Zenta, XO and Thesis Couture, as well as some that stretch what the term “wearables” might mean – stepping beyond connected textiles into deeper fibre science with Bolt Threads, Spiber and Modern Meadow.

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data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: L’Oréal’s incubator, Bolt Threads teams with Patagonia, confessions of a social media exec

loreal-digital-600

There are lots of updates this past week on interesting textile developments – from the spider silk of Bolt Threads to Spiber, both of which have announced new deals with Patagonia and The North Face respectively. Also worth a read is the anonymous social media exec spilling secrets to Digiday, not to mention the idea that we will all indeed be buying our designer clothing in the future on Amazon. If that’s not enough, further fashion and tech news from the past fortnight spans Birchbox’s use of Facebook Live to a breakdown of how brands are using Snapchat. Read on for all…


  • L’Oréal invests in Founders Factory digital start-up incubator [BrandChannel]

  • Bolt Threads raises $50 million to brew spider silk, inks deal with Patagonia [TechCrunch]

  • Confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing: ‘We threw too much money at them’ [Digiday]

  • People will eventually buy their designer clothing on Amazon, because they buy everything there [Quartz]

  • Everlane’s Shoe Park interactive pop-up offers self-guided shopping [Footwear News]

  • How Birchbox uses Facebook Live videos to engage consumers [Retail Dive]

  • How Frank + Oak built a modern loyalty program for men [Glossy]

  • Google DeepMind killed off a little-known fashion website [Business Insider]

  • SpaceX has hired a legendary costume designer to create their own spacesuits [Gizmodo]

  • The North Face to sell parka made out of synthetic spider silk by Japanese start-up Spiber [Bloomberg]

  • Thesis Couture is bringing the engineering savvy of rocket science to the design of the high-heeled shoe [The Atlantic]

  • The rise of robot tailors [Glossy]

  • L’Oréal created this training program to keep its marketers on the cutting edge [AdWeek]

  • How fashion and retail brands are using Snapchat [Fashionista]

  • Will the ‘sharing economy’ work for fashion? [BoF]

  • Bots, Messenger and the future of customer service [TechCrunch]

  • Condé Nast is launching a beauty network [Racked]

  • How a data scientist (who studied astrophysics) ended up in fashion [Fashionista]

  • Infographic: here’s how Gen Z girls prefer to shop and socialise online [AdWeek]

  • What is going on with fashion and zines? [Racked]

  • How online shopping is cannabilising mall stores [Associated Press]

  • REI’s ‘#OptOutside’ Black Friday campaign wins award [AdAge]