Wearable technologies have emerged from the need for functionality. Leading pioneers in this field of wearables such as Apple and FitBit with their primary product of smartwatches have moved towards the combination of both functionality and fashion in order to capitalize and grow the market of potential consumers.
Collaborations of tech companies with fashion companies such as Dolce & Gabbana and Motorola or Armani and Samsung have opened the market and showed the need for a combination of functional technology being executed in a stylish or fashionable form.
Examining smartwatches, the most commonly thought of product pertaining to wearable technology, companies have placed high focus and priority on design to differentiate their product and appeal to consumers. Fashion companies such as Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors have developed smartwatches in order to provide a wearable that stands as a status symbol (to match their brand values) as well as a fashion accessory. Tech companies such as Apple and Sony integrate a sense of style and fashion through the technical functions of their product– allowing for customization of watch face displays, wrist band interchangeability, and more in order to elevate the product’s overall design according to a user’s choice.
With tech companies bringing into great consideration the design and style of these wearables, and fashion industries expanding into this market, there is a large marketing and business factor that is in play when it comes to prioritizing design in a piece of wearable tech.
After a preliminary discussion with the team at Battelle on the scope and context of the NeuroLife sleeve, one of the potential concerns brought up is the cruciality of wearing the sleeve consistently and carefully handling the stigma that comes associated with wearing a prominent medical device. With this article discussing how wearables are becoming integrated and associated with fashion, this presents an interesting opportunity to explore how Battelle’s NeuroLife sleeve can integrate design through potential features of customization and fashion in order to elevate the experiential quality of wearing this apparatus.