Where Tech Meets Fashion

Tech's new smartwatches miss the mark, acting like mini-phones on your wrist. The future lies in tech-fashion partnerships. Think Armani designs packed with Apple tech. The balance of power between tech and fashion is the next frontier.

This week, it seems like every tech giant is unveiling their latest smartwatch. But let’s be honest, they’re basically strapping a mini-smartphone to your wrist. It’s like the pre-iPhone days when companies tried to cram a computer into a phone. Long story short, it didn’t work well.

Apple nailed it back then by considering screen size, user experience, and other factors. Now, we’re facing the same challenge with wearables. Everyone’s trying to shrink a phone onto your wrist, and it’s just not cutting it.

Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone

However, the buzz is that Apple will reveal the wearable solution soon. Everybody expects them to do it. But no leaks so far, just rumors and whispers — and that’s a lot of pressure on Apple’s side. They’ve been game-changers before, but who says they’ll get it right again? They’re only human.

Here’s my main concern: fashion. Tech and fashion are like oil and water; they don’t naturally mix. Tech companies can’t just waltz into the fashion world and expect to be embraced. But on the other hand, fashion also can’t stay stagnant.

In this scenario I can see the race to pick your dance partner. Who will get Apple on board? Or just the other way around, who is going to land Armani or Louis Vuitton? I mean… who will get the most leverage in the deal, tech or fashion?

Fitbit & Tory Burch partnership

Maybe the solution is to let each industry do what it does best. Fashion brands have the design chops and market trust. Tech brings the innovation. One provides the tech, the other the style. It’s like what Fitbit did with Tory Burch, but on steroids.

Yet the big question remains: who’ll have the upper hand? Will tech companies dictate the terms, or will fashion brands? Or maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some universal standards that let you mix and match brands. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

First published on September 10, 2014