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Silvie Koang WE'LL ALL BE WEARING WEARABLES IN 2014, WON'T WE? Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large and Maya Peilow Bethan wearing Google Glass at Google House. Fashion-wise, 2014 has st... 5

WE'LL ALL BE WEARING WEARABLES IN 2014, WON'T WE?

Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large and Maya Peilow

Bethan wearing Google Glass at Google House.
Fashion-wise, 2014 has started as it's predicted to go with the first big buzz of the year centred on wearable technology. It's one of the major themes of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which has been happening in Las Vegas this week. Such is the excitement about tech we can wear that there was even an item on the Radio 4 Today programme about the phenomenon. Whether you think it's going to take off in accordance with the hype is still a matter of opinion but the odds are in its favour. Nike's brilliant Fuelband has become a badge of honour in recent years and is at the forefront of demonstrating how we can be converted to putting functional, traditionally unfashionable items on our bodies and feeling stylish as a result- see all the street style girls and bloggers who proudly display their rose gold fuelband as part of their "arm party". Meanwhile, the Google Glass was a major attraction at the brilliant Google House event before Christmas- they don't have quite the style appeal of the fuelband just yet but they are mighty fun to try out and could easily become as commons as make-up or jewellery in years to come.

Nike's fuelband is a key component in your arm party (via shefinds.com)
 Last year, online crowd-funding websites, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, were at the forefront of this wearable tech revolution. Ben Wood (CCS Insight) has said that $100 million has been invested in wearables through this method. Embrace+, a wristband aimed at keeping you up-to-date with your smartphone activity while it’s in your handbag, raised $264,527 through Kickstarter, over three times their aim of $80,000. Pebble, whose second product launched this year, received over $10 million via Kickstarter in 2013. The main players in the technology market also look set to enter the wearable marketplace sometime soon. Last year, Apple made significant appointments poaching Angela Ahrendts from Burberry and Paul Deneve from YSL to become Senior Vice Presidents. So although there's no official word on their wearable options it seems almost a foregone conclusion that there will be a major product launch at some point soon. 

So, what are the wearable technology items which have been on show at CES, and which ones are we predicting will become an indispensable part of your wardrobe sometime soon?

1. The Sony Smartband goes beyond merely recording exercise data. In coordination with Sony’s Lifelog App, the Smartband measures your physical, social and entertainment activity through a tiny piece of hardware known as ‘the core’ and creates a timeline. The wristband can monitor how you feel, what you do and you can even log special moments through its “life bookmark” feature. By monitoring activity, the aim of the product is to inform life choices, such as motivating you to walk to work rather than take a taxi. As the information is contained in ‘the core’, Sony hopes to develop the product so that it could be worn on the neck, in shoes or attached to a tennis racket in the future. The downside? It’s only compatible with Android.

Sony's multicolour Smartbands (via Sony)

2. The Pebble Steel Smartwatch is an update to the popular plastic Pebble model from 2013. Following Pebble’s latest collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, the watch is the ultimate tech gadget, enabling users to locate their car, check fuel levels and ensure that their doors are locked. The brand’s all-new app store will enable more brands to follow in the footsteps of ESPN and Pandora and join the project. With over 300,000 units of the plastic model sold in 2013, the prospects for the Pebble Steel are promising. The new model is $100 more than its predecessor, with pricing expected at $250. Praised as a “cosmetic overhaul” by Scott Stein (CNET), this sleeker version, available in brushed steel or matte black, will expand Pebble’s market as a strong alternative to a classic watch.

The Pebble Steel (via TechRepublic)

3. The Netatmo June is aimed at health and style conscious women. The jewel feature on this guardian bracelet tracks UV exposure. Alongside a companion smartphone app, the wristband will notify users when to apply suncream, wear a hat and put on sunglasses. The brand claims this is the first “fashion item” to hit the market.

The Netamo bracelet (via Netamo)
4. Skulpt Aim is the perfect wireless device to monitor fitness levels. When the device, which is smaller than an iPhone, is pressed against the skin, it measures how current flows and collects data on body fat percentage and muscle quality. As with many of the gadgets at CES 2014, tech start-up Skulpt raised nearly $290,000 via crowdfunding on Indiegogo. It's set for release in May 2014 and will cost $149.

5. Heapsylon has introduced Smart Socks as part of their Sensoria range. At a hefty price tag of £100, these socks will monitor how your foot hits the ground, the rhythm of your footfall and calculate your stride length. They will coach users to improve their running technique. The socks, connected to a phone app via an ankle bracelet, could also alert users as to possible injury or over-exertion. The Telegraph calls these socks “the most outlandish example of a host of ‘wearable technologies’” at CES this week. Gregory Ferenstein, from TechCrunch, deems these the most useful of wearables demoed at CES. “It identifies a population eager for self-improvement and delivers a product that conveniently solves a major health issue.” The Sensoria range also includes t-shirts and sports bras which can track your fitness.

Not the prettiest things, but might useful if you're a runner (via Mashable)
A word of caution, however, from Ben Wood:

“While this approach will undoubtedly produce some stars, many wearable devices will have their five minutes of fame at shows like CES before disappearing into oblivion.”

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