The world of wearable tech has evolved massively over the space of just a few years. But if you don’t like the sporty look quite so much, your choice of trackers that keep you updated, monitor your fitness and keep an eye on your heart-rate are still pretty limited.
So it’s no surprise that more and more wearable tech brands have been emerging recently that are dedicated to dreaming up products that don’t just look like souped-up pedometers, but are just as at home on your wrist as a piece of high-end jewellery.
Once you open the Pandora’s Box of great-looking tech you also realise it’s no longer solely about tracking your steps or telling you you’ve got a text. Wearing tech, whether it’s on your wrist on your fingers or even on your clothes can really start to integrate into all areas of our lives. Tech we wear can have huge medical benefits, but they can also be purely aesthetic, too.
What we find the most interesting here at Gadgette is the proliferation of new startups (looking at you, Kovert) making products that straddle the tech and fashion spaces, but don’t exclusively belong in either.
Think of it as tech-driven fashion, rather than an established fashion brand trying to stake its claim on wearable tech and falling short. Did the Samsung Gear S by Diesel spring to anyone else’s mind then? Oh lordy, what an ugly piece of tat.
But we’re not naive. We know that there’s clearly a challenge to create tech that ticks all the boxes. After all, just because we want something that looks good doesn’t mean we want to scrimp on the all-important sensors. Hell, that’s why we’re wearing the thing in the first place, right?
And let’s not forget what’s fashionable to one person could be ugly and useless to someone else. I personally prefer the sporty, simple look and rarely take off my Misfit Flash. On the other hand, plenty of my mates think it looks far too plastic and cheap.
With that in mind, we’ve collected together some of our top brands to watch as well as our favourite pieces of tech, some you can get your hands on (or wrists into) now, others are set to shake up the space in the near future.
1. Beautiful and mindful: Kovert
Kovert creates wearables to help you stay disconnected. Sounds counterintuitive, right? A piece of tech to stop you relying on other pieces of tech… But really the concept makes a LOT of sense.
The Kovert is like a gatekeeper, which alerts you only when you really want to be alerted. A gatekeeper for your time, your attention and your energy. Admittedly, a really freaking beautiful one.
Of course brands like Ringly have tried to occupy this space too, but what makes Kovert’s ideas stand out to us is that they’re really, well, wearable. We’re fickle, we don’t always want to wear that bracelet or that necklace no matter how lovely it is and the team behind Kovert get that. Because the smarts are actually in the stone, which you’re able to wear within lots of different pieces of jewellery, from a ring to a pendant to a friendship bracelet-type thing.
For more information check out Kovert. The brand’s first wearable Altruis is “coming soon”.
2. Cutting-edge and flashing lights: Cute Circuit
One of the pioneering brands occupying that exciting intersection between fashion and tech. The team at Cute Circuit isn’t just focused on crafting stylish wearables, they’re also global leaders in the use of smart textiles and micro-electronics.
If the name sounds familiar it’s because their creations have been worn by some top celebs over the years. Nicole Scherzinger wore the world’s first Twitter dress (see image above) and Katy Perry was papped in a glowing Cute Circuit number at the Met Gala a few years ago.
But what about us mere mortals who don’t have a gala to go to and would feel a bit daft in a get-up covered in tweets?
Well, Cute Circuit has some (admittedly still super pricey) smaller projects on-the-go too that you can buy. Our favourite being the brand’s Mirror Handbag, which is made up of laser etched acrylic mirrors that let the light from white LEDs within the bag’s exterior shine through to create animations and display messages.
If you’re into fashion tech or tech-enabled fashion then you MUST check out the Cute Circuit website, full of plans for the future, pioneering ideas and some of the most eye-wateringly awesome photographs.
3. Sparkly jewellery meets functional tracker: Misfit Swarovski Shine
As you may have picked up in our comment about the Samsung Galaxy Gear/Diesel collaboration, we don’t think tech brands and fashion brands joining forces always works.
But in recent years we’ve seen a few decent attempts, like Tory Burch’s line for Fitbit. And we’re interested to see whether Misfit can take a stab at being pretty as well as functional with the Swarovski Shine.
The jury’s out on whether this is beautiful or OTT. But nevertheless, if sporty-looking wearables aren’t really your thing then this is a good compromise between wearing jewellery and an activity tracker.
The Misfit Shine is one of our favourite wearables here at Gadgette for its simple tracking and slim form factor. In fact both Editor Holly and I are huge fans of Misfit’s product line and can’t wait to get our hands on a Flash Link soon.
You can pre-order a Swarovski Shine now from the Misfit website and it’s expected to ship in September.
We’ll soon be taking an in-depth look at textiles tech and the way wearables are taking over the runways and infiltrating our shopping experiences. Watch this space.
Main image © Kovert