Canadian designer Suzi Roher has created a line of wearable technology belts as she looks to be a part of the growing convergence between mobile and fashion.
Combining technology with fashion, Ms. Roher created a handful of styles to appeal to each consumer, featuring lamb leather and gold and nickel metals. Appealing to high-end shoppers, the series of belts offer luxurious qualities, but the wearables are few of many to hit the market this year, which could prevent the products from taking flight.
“Being hands free makes life super simple,” said Suzi Roher, fashion designer, Canada. “If you are someone who works with your hands like we do in the studio or lives an active lifestyle, it can be hard to consistently pick up that phone to see where the next meeting is, who just called or texted, and so forth.
“With these wonderful wearables, you don't have to go looking for anything. It is all right there.”
“Firstly, there is the cool gizmo factor, as it looks great while being fashion forward. Secondly it is progressively practical.”
Around the waist
While Ms. Roher, whose designs are often seen in department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, is planning to debut an entire line of belts, one in particular combines Bluetooth technology and a digital watch to qualify the product as a true wearable tech product.
The Urban Tech Belt has a digital watch and cellphone holder and notifies wearers of incoming calls and emails and is capable of playing music via Bluetooth. Users can adjust the volume or track number directly through the belt.
The Urban Tech Belt
Each alert appears on the watch for a short time, and the watch vibrates when an alert comes through.
Designed thin to fit through a belt loop, the product also features Italian hardware.
The phone holder can be detached easily and is compatible with any phone. The Urban Tech Belt comes in black only and will be priced at $725.
“If you are an attorney and are waiting for a deal to close while in an unrelated meeting, you don't want to be constantly checking your phone,” Ms. Roher said. “It is considered rude.
“However, if you glance down at your watch, you can get all the information you need with just one look.”
Whirlwind of wearables
A number of fashion brands have hopped on the wearable train.
Fashion label Tory Burch has designed a collection of signature fitness products for fitness tracking device company FitBit to give the products a fashionable edge.
As a way to disguise a less fashionable wearable, the Tory Burch collaboration is likely an attempt to attract fashionistas and involve the brand in the wearable trend. While the jewelry products could make the fitness wearables more fashionable, the tech devices are not built in and must be purchased separately from FitBit (see story).
Given the emergence of different wearable products, retailers are entering the marketing space of these wearables to take part in the possible business endeavors.
Announced in July, EBay, Gilt and Airbnb are a few of the retailers showing their support of New York start-up Ringly’s smart ring by collaborating with the product’s mobile application.
As fashion-forward wearables gain momentum, Ringly’s latest announcement regarding additional app collaborations parallels with the release of Philadelphia-based start-up Beacon and Lively and its introduction of its own stylish smart bracelet. Participating apps eBay, Gilt, Airbnb, Hinge, Lyft, Skype, Whatsapp and Words with Friends will offer customized alerts through Ringly’s line of smart rings (see story).
Keeping fashion in mind is likely the best strategy for designers entering the wearable tech industry.
“The inspiration is to be on the leading edge of whatever we are designing,” Ms. Roher said. “Right now, the union of a computer, a watch, a phone and a cool belt is brand new, very usable and very relevant.
“We love all advancements in fashion wearable technology as it is the Internet of things.”
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York
Caitlyn Bohannon is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.