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Fashion Forward

Style meets function with wearable technology

Iris van Herpen

The future is now for the fusion of fashion and high-tech. What once was sci-fi is now wearable reality, starting at the wrist with the Dick Tracy-like Apple Watch and with Gucci’s “smartband” partnership with will.i.am (the first recording artist to send a song to Mars). Before long you can go cyborg style head to toe: Google Glass, including its Diane Von Furstenberg design, might be derailed for now but expect new style/tech hybrids to keep coming down the runway. That means clothing made with 3D printers, “e-textiles” embedded with digital components and electronics, and    “fit tech” clothes that monitor our fitness and health. We’re only at the dawn of this brave new apparel world.

New York Fashion Tech Lab is bringing haute couture labels together with tech startups to accelerate “innovations at the intersection of fashion, retail and technology.” ‚Ä®Major retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s are on board, along with brands including Coach, Estee Lauder, J. Crew, Kate Spade and Ralph Lauren. Fashion-tech weeks have sprung up from the West Coast to New York, and all the way to Paris.  
Fashion is not merely clothing. As Coco Chanel once said, it “has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Lechal Smart Shoes
Feel a sole connection via Bluetooth to provide GPS, fitness data and feedback with active vibrations. $200 for shoes, $150 for insole, pre-order online. :: lechal.com

Tory Burch For Fitbit Metal Hinged Bracelet
A collaboration between Tory Burch and Fitbit, this includes pendants as well as silver, rose gold, gold and silicone options to transform your Fitbit Flex wristband into dressy jewelry. $195, available online. :: toryburch.com

Polo Tech
Ralph Lauren Polo Tech shirt features sensors knitted into the core of the product to read biological and physiological information. Price upon request, pre-orders accepted in early July. :: ralphlauren.com

Tommy hilfiger Solar power jacket
In styles for men and women, this jacket features removable solar panels to power a battery pack that will recharge your smartphone or any standard device. USB port included. $599, available online.  ::  usa.tommy.com

Apple Watch
Track your fitness, answer calls, send and receive messages, make payments with Apple Pay, and more. Prices start at $349. Limited-edition versions priced at $17,000. Available at all Apple Stores. ::  apple.com

Swarovski Shine Slake Set Bracelet
Activity-tracking jewelry measures your daily activities and sleep quality, and syncs wirelessly with your smartphone. $169, pre-order online. :: store.misfit.com

Iris van Herpen
Dutch designer Iris van Herpen is known for her futuristic craftsmanship and work with space-age materials and techniques. Her ready-to-wear collection for fall included the  flexible  and  translucent  3D-printed Echo dress and a digitally fabricated halter dress inspired by fractal geometry (pictured), made in collaboration with Canadian architect Philip Beesley. Price upon request. Available online. :: irisvanherpen.com

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