When Technology Collaborated With fashion
In the last decade, we have seen technology develop to incredible places, achieving things that people once assumed unachievable and breaking boundaries that people have proved never really existed. The tech industry is now one of, if not the biggest industry in the world, but here at StemX, we appreciate more than just the tech side of our business. We love where tech meets other industries; tech meets design, resulting in fluid user experience; tech meets photography, engaging our customers with aesthetically considered content. In this article, we are going to talk about the collaboration of the tech industry meeting another dominant field: The fashion industry. With their two paths now crossing more than ever, let’s take a look at the highlights.
Google x Levi’s
To kick matters off, we’ll start with one of the worlds’ largest tech giants: Google. If anyone was going to create wearable technology, of course, Google would be the ones to get involved. It also comes as no surprise that they chose Levi’s to collaborate with. Being such a popular heritage brand, known for its high-quality and stability in designs, it was the obvious choice for this fashion and technology crossover.
In 2017, Google teamed up with Levi’s to create the Jacquard Trucker Jacket, a jacket designed for the cycling commuter but one that can essentially be worn by all. Built for practical functionality and designed with innovative technology, this jacket was born to be the all-rounder garment that is not only a fun accessory to have but a lifestyle improvement to the wearer when worn. Designed in full denim (obviously), Levi’s created the Trucker Jacket with excess shoulder space and a dropped back hem to adhere to the form of the cyclist. This isn’t to say it doesn’t look good when it’s worn on land though because it does.
So, where does the technology aspect come into it? Each jacket has fibres sewn through the fabric of the jacket on the left-hand side cuff (the material that covers the wrist at the end of the arm). Instead of a button fastening that you’ll see on most jackets, the Google x Levi’s jacket has a tab. Once this tab is clicked in, it connects straight to your smartphone where the connectivity is made through Jacquard Threads and embedded electronics running through the denim. When this is set up, you can take control of the actions by the set movements made with your hands on the fabric. The wearer can control three features: Navigation, incoming phone calls or messages and music. The idea of this? To help people on-the-go, quickly and hands-free whilst doubling up as a warm, high-quality jacket that doesn’t look like you’re dressing for 2050. Did they nail it? We think so.
In this day and age – and as sad as it is to say – social media really does make the world go around. It wasn’t long before Snapchat, one of the leading social media platforms, got involved with wearable technology to enhance their branding and take their product out of the comfort zone.
Right now, capturing ‘the moment’ is real time. Taking a photograph to look at later simply isn’t enough, and people want other people to know exactly what they’re doing or seeing as soon as they are doing it and seeing it. In this quick, instant life we live in, it didn’t take long for Snapchat to take their product from phone to real life, and how did they do this? Spectacles by Snap.
The Spectacles by Snap change up the game by capturing moments directly from the wearer of the glasses. They have created sunglasses which have two small cameras in the corners. Have you ever wanted people to see what you see? Well, now you can. These glasses have massively improved with design over time, becoming more aesthetically considered and easier for the average person to wear. The Spectacles by Snap are wireless and feature in three colourways of black, coral and teal. The best bit? They only cost £130, which we don’t think is too bad at all.
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0
As one of the leading companies in footwear design, Nike was bound to get technology on their side at some point. 2016 was their year to shine with new innovations, as they released the never-seen-before Nike HyperAdapt 1.0. What’s different about this shoe to any other? They can lace themselves.
This shoe was the first self-lacing shoe to come into the footwear market. It offers a quick solution to those who look for ease of wear in their foot choice, who perhaps have medical difficulties that prevent them tying shoelaces like most can or even those who just fancied what they deem as one of the coolest trainers products money could buy. The shoe itself is quite a minimal silhouette which released in three colourways of deep black, crisp white and in smooth grey. Because of the self-lacing mechanism, one can simply slip their foot in the trainer and press a button on each outer sides of the shoe which triggers the lacing process. They don’t lace themselves like they’re something out of Harry Potter, raising in the air and doing a delicate knot before your eyes – it is more of a securing system that sets the nylon laces to contract and secure themselves comfortably around the persons foot (and how tight they go depends on the size of the wearers’ feet).
The HyperAdapts 1.0 and emblazoned with the initials ‘E.A.R.L’ on the tongue of the shoe. This stands for Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing. One of the key features to this trainer, other than the self-lace system, is the way the part of the side of the shoes’ sole lights up a bright light when the ‘E.A.R.L’ is in play. This design feature may sound cool, but if you’re not a fan of, quite literally, flashy trainers, this may just put you right off. On the very bottom of the HyperAdapt’s sole, one will find the initials MT2. These pay tribute to the creators of the shoe, Mark Parker (Nike’s CEO), Tinker Hatfield (Vice President for Design and Special Projects of Nike) and Tiffany Beers (Senior Innovator at Nike).
This year, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is set to re-release in a few new colourways of digitised camouflage in red, green and grey. We’re excited to see whether they have improved the technology in the shoe or adapted in more in some way or another.
Apple x Hèrmes
You didn’t think we would leave Apple out of the list for our favourite fashion and technology collaborations, did you? Well, we haven’t, and we’re here to talk about the killer pairing that is Apple Watch and Hèrmes.
We don’t need to fill you in on what Apple does, but you may not be aware of Hèrmes. No, this isn’t Hermes, the delivery company. This is Hèrmes, one of the largest Italian high-end, luxury fashion houses in the world. As a top designer, the brand was always going to put an extravagant touch on the already existing Apple Watch, so as soon as this collaboration was released, we knew it would be great. And so it was, with Hèrmes paying tribute to the leading tech brand, donating their luxury leathers and suave designs to the watches’ already slick nature.
Fauve Barenia leather, Ébène Barenia leather, Noir Swift Leather and Etoupe Swift Leather are just some of the lavish materials they used in this partnership to re-imagine the Apple Watch. With designs that are minimal to ones that wrap a few times around the wrist, Hèrmes and Apple created something which really is to be treasured for some time (pun intended). The price tag of these watches may be a little more than that of your standard Apple Watch, but either way, it’s satisfying to see that such high-end brands are catching on to this collaborative technology trend.
Google Live Artwork Cases
We’re back with Google again, but this time we’re celebrating their own, home-grown product. The Pixel phone has been competing with other phone giants in the tech scene, but it’s safe to say that they have successfully nudged their way into the market with a pretty decent sized following.
Google set up their Google Live Artwork Cases in 2016, an online platform where they collaborate with artists, photographers and designers alike to create different artwork designs for the Pixel phone cases. These phone cases run online for limited-times, allowing their customers to get their hands on Google-exclusive artworks by some of the creative industries’ biggest names.
Some past and present collaboration names to mention include Opening Ceremony, an American own brand and stockist store, Mimi Wade, a British American designer who has had her own line stocked in Selfridges in London and Opening Ceremony in LA and NYC and Sadie Williams, a fashion and textile designer who has been featured in the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ list. Haw-Lin also collaborated with Google Live Cases, a creative studio that offer services from graphic designs to creative direction that has previously worked with Apple and the fashion label Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh as well as many others.