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Tech form now matters as much as tech function

The dance between technology and fashion has always been a rather ungainly one, characterized by awkward stumbling, accidental toe-treading and unexpected knees in the groin.

Neither world is really certain what it’s supposed to be doing with the other. Products deemed to combine style with cutting-edge credibility tend to leave the public cold, whether that’s a celebrity-endorsed gadget or solutions to problems that don’t exist (Bluetooth glove-phones, rechargeable handbag chargers). But as technology shrinks, form and style start to become much more important.

The arrival of wearable technology into the marketplace has been muted by this truth. There’s little point in making wearables that people don’t find alluring enough to wear, and while technology companies tie themselves up in knots over the functionality of, say, a smartwatch, the fact is that we require very little from a watch. For most people, aesthetic appeal is more important. That’s why a team of 100 designers is rumored to be working on Apple’s much-anticipated “iWatch”: while the mass adoption of wearable technology is primarily a social battle, it’s one that can be won a whole lot quicker if the product looks cool and feels desirable.

Small wonder, then, that technology companies are beginning to court figures from the fashion world like desperate singletons at a speed-dating event. The departure of Burberry’s Angela Ahrendts for a job at Apple comes only a few weeks after Yves St Laurent’s Paul Deneve made the same move. Google, still engaged in a long-term pre-launch battle for public acceptance for Google Glass, scored a win when Diane von Furstenberg’s models wore the futuristic spectacles at last autumn’s New York Fashion Week. Samsung sent Galaxy Gears watches up the catwalk in Milan with Moschino; Kenzo designed covers for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet at Paris Fashion Week, while those on the front row at Roksanda Ilincic’s recent show in London were slipped a free pair of stylish Sennheiser Momentum headphones. With the attitudes of taste-makers so important in the often sniffy world of fashion, you can hardly blame those technology companies who suddenly find themselves plunged into the luxury accessories market for attempting such overt seduction.

But what do the fashion companies get out of this liaison? Does any kudos flow the other way? “The fashion and beauty worlds were very slow to the digital party,” says Tyler. “Until a couple of years ago there were barely any decent e-commerce websites, and luxury brands were in denial about what technology could do for them – mainly because they were steeped in heritage. But that’s changing.


That developing link with technology was highlighted at Dressed To Code, a “fashion hackathon” hosted by Glamour magazine last month at New York Fashion Week, where coders (split 50/50 between men and women) convened to merge the worlds of technology and fashion through the development of mobile apps. It’s hardly a marriage made in heaven, but perhaps the geek and the chic are finally getting it together.

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The must have pink coat for you.

Pink Coat

Every season some high-street outlet – sometimes Whistles, sometimes Zara, occasionally M&S – will knock out a decent garment that happens to be quite similar to one seen on the runways.

The fashion magazines have been excited over the M&S coat because various high-end designers made pink coats this season.

 

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A pink coat at the Osman show. Photograph: Tim P Whitby/Getty Images

Has there ever been a more perfect trend for fashion retailers than a pink coat? Coats are the one type of clothing that everyone accepts should be expensive. Because a coat is something that needs to be good quality: it needs to be warm, it ideally should be waterproof and it needs to withstand daily wear. Ergo, expenditure is acceptable.

Let’s look again at the pink coat. Pink coats are, quite elegant, with the youthful playfulness in them. Yes, it’s a bold look. But it also looks incredibly chic and makes the perfect statement outfit.  It’s not just bright pink either; pastel shades were seen at Topshop Unique, Carven, Jonathan Saunders and Celine; to name just a few.

These Coats are pared back, understated and elegant. Manly silhouettes help to counteract the girly color of the fabric.

Bubblegum pinks are the standout tones for autumn and can look elegant and grown-up for evening or officewear.


Look for unexpected fabrics and textures to create interest in your outfit, like sequins and faux fur – this contrast will work especially well if you’re planning a top-to-toe pink look. Think fluffy pink angora jumper teamed with a vinyl pink pencil skirt.

 

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Samsung’s Galaxy Smartwatch Opens doors For Apple

The Galaxy Gear, $299 smartwatch goes on sale this week. The watch connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and lets you take pictures, record short videos, send and receive text messages, make phone calls, control music playback and more.

For an electronic gadget, it’s a pretty nice looking watch, with its metal edges, rectangular glass display and decent heft, doesn’t feel cheap.

The watch’s glass face is like a small smartphone display — swipes to the right or left on the glass scroll through different pages, allowing access to different apps and features. If you want to open one, like the pedometer, gallery of images and videos or media controller, simply tap the display once you’ve scrolled to that app.

A swipe on the glass from top to bottom serves as a “back” button in most apps, although if the default clock face with the time and weather is displayed, that swipe activates the 1.9-megapixel camera on the wristband. A swipe up when the time and weather are displayed gives you a dial pad to make calls. It may sound like a lot to remember, but it’s actually intuitive and you get used to it quickly. And looking down in the morning and seeing the temperature on your wrist — and then giving a tap for a detailed report — is pretty cool.

There are several negatives to this watch. The watch only works with the Galaxy Note 3, the new “phablet” slated to be released in the coming weeks, costing $300 to $350 (with a two-year contract). CNET reports that other Samsung Galaxy devices will be compatible with Gear by the end of the year.

The Galaxy Gear is also; scrolling through the menu items, taking pictures and S-Voice seems to lag.

If I got a text message, the phone would buzz in my pocket several seconds before I got a notification on the watch.

You can get texts, but not picture messages. You can take pictures with Galaxy Gear — and they’re decent pictures — but you have to transfer them to your phone before you can send them to anyone.

When text message arrives, you can choose to respond by either calling or using S-Voice.

The watch, of course, can also be used as a phone, thanks to a speaker and microphone on the wrist band. But remember — it’s connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so your smartphone is actually the device using the network. You can choose to have the volume low and talk into your wrist Dick Tracy-style, or raise the volume and use it more like a speaker phone. Samsung representatives explained that it’s the type of feature that would be used if you needed to answer a call while driving, although I think that the type of person who would spend $300 on a first generation smartwatch may also have a car that’s equipped with a Bluetooth hands-free system, which is far superior.

The concept of the watch is great, and smartwatches will one day become as ubiquitous as smartphones are today, but not this watch.

In the end, the $300 price tag is not worth it on a first-generation smartwatch that doesn’t work very well

Let’s see what Apple comes back with.