Wearable technology: the latest fashion trend

“LOW BATTERY: 10% battery remaining”

The moment we see those five words pop up on our phone screen, we immediately grow anxious, especially if this happens when we are outside. We panic and look to our friends for a portable charger and go instantly to power saving mode to hang on to that last 10% of battery remaining at the tip of our finger tips. What are we going to do when our phone dies?! How are we going to keep ourselves entertained?!

We have all experienced the inconvenience of being so attached to our personal technology, but technology is part of our daily lives. As junior Gabby Kim said, “It seems that we have grown to become too dependent on these gadgets. For instance I, as many others, feel lost and ‘naked’ without a cell phone. Never before in history has technology been such a crucial part to our society and to our future successes.”

And with new wearable technology, it will become even more intertwined with our lives.

‘Wearable’ technology does not only comprise of Apple Watch, Google Glass, and Fitbits. In fact, the Apple Watch, one of most highly acclaimed products of 2015, is a latecomer to this industry. The wearable technology market was established much earlier and expands beyond the scope of our awareness.

The report by research firm International Data Corporation said global wearable device shipments will reach 72.1 million units in 2015, up 173.3 percent from 2014.

Data by International Data Corporation
Data by International Data Corporation

That rises very close to the expected Apple iPhone sales of 74.5 million for 2015 Quarter 1.

In the next five years, smart wearable sales are expected to grow at 42.6% each year, reaching 155.7 million units shipped in 2019, which is almost as much as the iPhone sales in 2014 of 169 million approx.

As we grow inseparable from technology, so does our demand for more optimal and modern devices to make our lives even more convenient than it already is.

Suppliers that meet these consumer demands are not just technology companies like Apple, but are also high end fashion brands that recognize the increasing relationship between technology and people. In the recent years, fashion clothing and accessories have far surpassed the stereotypical evolution of fabrics and patterns.

 

photo rights to Shopbop
(photo rights to Shopbop)
photorights to Pebble
(photo rights to Pebble)
photorights to Tommy Hilfiger
(photo rights to Tommy Hilfiger)
photorights to Ringly
(photo rights to Ringly)
photorights to CuteCircuit
(photo rights to CuteCircuit)

Wearable technologies are no longer products we should expect to see only in the shelves of Best Buy or Harvey Norman, but are also now at store fronts of fashion brands. The market is developing to attract a wider range of people, not to amplify the concern of overconsumption of technology in today’s generation, but to make technology even more friendly and efficient.

Yet, the underlying controversy over social media and mobile devices brings the benefits of such development into question.  In a Wall Street Journal article, two professors explore the influences of technology on social relationships and interactions. While Dr. Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, argues that real life interactions have been hindered tremendously by our preferences for the virtual world, Dr. Hampton, professor in Communication and Public Policy at Rutgers University, defends technology as an enhancer to our social life, not a replacement.

“I don’t think that saying technology is responsible for making us dependent on it is a viable statement, the decision of whether to be attached to it or not is up to the individual user,” said senior Louis Eppel.

A vast majority of the consumer industry subscribes to Dr. Hampton’s proposal. They recognize that missed opportunities to converse with the person they’re sitting next to are minimal compared to all the opportunities offered because of technology. We are always notified of what is happening, able to stay in touch with friends and family living across seas, and access any information we want in seconds. Thus, companies are providing even better ways for their customers to utilize technology as they understand the necessity of building that relationship between people and technology as well.

Wearable technology could diminish our urges to unlock our screens constantly to check for notifications out of boredom or FOMO (then getting distracted and surf through all our social media), and also minimize our attention that we give our phone battery.

That is not to say it will create a very apparent distance between us and phones – many will still remain reasonably attached. But there will be new diverse ways to access gadgets and connect with people both online and offline. This novelty will draw people into transitioning to another technological era.

Before we know it, we will no longer need to have our phones out, because our ring will give us all the notifications we need. We won’t need to worry about charging our phones every night, because we will always have a charger on us. We will not even need our phones in our back pockets, because we have fancy watches that can do all the same.

Author: Kelly Chung

An avid photographer, a foodie, fitness enthusiast and a Friends fangirl, Kelly is a new Eye reporter this year. She’s been in Singapore since 2004 and at SAS since 6th grade. Now as a senior, she continues embracing her love for touch rugby and exploring hidden gems of Singapore. Kelly can be contacted at chung33191@sas.edu.sg.

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