With hard luxury and technology continuing to merge, it’s hard to know which ‘‘new thing’’ to pay attention to. With the help of the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, here is The Luxury Channel’s guide to growing luxury technology trends….
The Polo Tech Shirt by Ralph Lauren
As a keen sportsman, it was a natural step for fashion mogul Ralph Lauren to explore the benefits of integrated technology within sportswear. The Polo Tech Shirt has built-in sensors that track and stream biometric data to an app via bluetooth. Silver conductive thread measures heart rate, breathing rate and performance intensity. The tight compression fabric is also designed to stimulate blood flow and aid muscle recovery.
The Ricky Bag by Ralph Lauren
Named after his wife, the original Ricky bag has received a technological twist. Handcrafted in Italy, the Ricky Light Bag has four LED lights that gently illuminate whenever the bag is opened. The bag also contains a seamlessly integrated USB port which allows owners to charge their phone on the go. Made with the softest leather with a purple calfskin lining, this bag is the definition of modern luxury.
Not available to buy off the shelves just yet but this Brooklyn start-up is one to keep an eye on. As the fashion world has started to acquaint itself with the future of wearable technology, Modern Meadow is looking to solve a current fashion dilemma. As the sale of leather goods continues to grow, so does the impact on the environment. Modern Meadow wants to create an environmentally preferable alternative to sourcing leather. By ‘‘creating’’ leather in a lab, Modern Meadows has the ability to deliver pristine leather every time.
Iris Van Herpen
This young Dutch designer has already taken the fashion world by storm, having won the French ANDAM Fashion Award in 2014, and been a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Van Herpen is known for using innovative and futuristic techniques. Her love of 3D printed fabric means there’s a hyper-sculptural, architectural edge to her work. Despite her love of technology, Van Herpen insists it’s a collaborative effort both between man and machine.
This virtual reality start-up was founded by teenager Palmer Luckey in his bedroom in 2011 and his company Oculus was bought last year by Facebook for approximately $2 billion. Although fans who’d supported Luckey early via his Kickstarter page were sceptical about Oculus being sold to a multi-national corporation, Mark Zuckerberg reassured virtual reality fans when he commented that Facebook was wasn’t going to make Oculus Rift ‘‘about sharing pictures,’’ because ‘‘it’s about sharing reality.’’ With Zuckerberg as a significant weight behind this project, Oculus Rift really looks like it’ll succeed in its mission to take technology to the next level.
FitBit by Tory Burch
With fitness trackers being increasingly popular, fashion designer Tory Burch recognised that ladies might not want to wear a sporty rubber band in a professional or party environment. In order to offer a range of price points, Burch added a pattern to FitBit’s signature silicone and also designed two stand-out statement pieces – the first being a flex tracker pendant necklace and the second a metal-hinged bracelet. Both pieces are chic enough to wear in the office or on an evening out, as well as adding some glamour whilst in the gym.
With Apple looking to turn the under thirties back into a watch-wearing generation, it makes sense to invest now. Not only does the Apple iWatch allow you to answer calls as well as read e-mails, it also utilises Taptic. Taptic is a portmanteau of tap and haptic feedback, a system which conveys information by vibrations or taps. So if you are using a directional map service, the Apple iWatch can direct you left or right just by issuing small vibrations on your wrist. The entry level Apple iWatch is the Sport version, with its most advanced watch being the Edition.
It’s been described as the gift that keeps on giving, a device which sits in your home and enables you to custom create almost anything and everything you can imagine. Although there aren’t a huge number of 3D printers available to purchase at the moment, this is a trend that is growing rapidly. Soon 3D printers won’t just be for designers and hobbyists but will allow you to print out things like throwaway plates for children’s parties or a pair of designer sunglasses. Start reading up on CAD now!
Additional reporting from Florence by Antonia Peck