Pop superstar will.i.am has one. Michael Kors says he’s coming out with one. Apple is very soon going to finally start selling a long-awaited one. Everybody, it seems, in the world of fashion is talking about the same thing:
And what better time to talk about that, than during Fashion Week season in New York—and here to do that is fashion and lifestyle reporter Katlean de Monchy, who joins us in studio today. Good morning, Katlean!
Katlean: good morning.
Anchor: And you have your top five hot fashion technology trends this morning!
Katlean: That’s right—fashion and technology are merging more and more and some of the new ideas that are coming out of that merger are really exciting.
Anchor: Okay, let’s get right to it!
Katlean: Number five for me is what I call the Battle of the Smart Watches. As you mentioned, Apple should be shipping its much-anticipated watch this Spring, but in the meantime, there are some really great options out there, especially if you are an Android user rather than an iPhone user.
The most interesting to me is the Samsung Gear S, which you see on the left—the one with the bigger display. It’s a watch that can make phone calls without your phone nearby—not even the Apple Watch can do that. And it has a super-bright display called Super A-M-O-L-E-D, which seems perfect for a wearable that you have to use out in the sun and rain. The Samsung Gear Fit is more for workout fiends; you can read your text messages on it but I hope people aren’t going to try that while they’re running along the West Side Highway trail.
Anchor: And they’re retailing for less than the Apple Watch?
Katlean: Apparently—there’s no official word from Apple on pricing yet but Samsung is selling the Gear S for 200-dollars with contract and the Gear Fit for about 120-dollars —and no contract.
(Note: the reason the Gear Fit does not have a contract is because it can’t make calls and therefore does not need its own cellular plan).
Anchor: Okay, what’s at number four?
At number four is a 14-thousand dollar sewing machine.
Now, you might think, how can a sewing machine cost 14-thousand dollars? But this latest 2015 Dream Machine from Brother—which by the way is the exclusive sewing machine company of Project Runway and its spinoffs—has been declared a Consumer Digests Best Buy. And THAT is really hard to get. It has a huge HD LCD screen—and a built-in design center—and video tutorials—and a camera-like device called an “Innov-Eye” that can scan what you’re trying to do and show you how to sew it or embroider it right on the LCD. So, for people who are serious about creating fashion, 14-thousand dollars for a machine like this really IS a Best Buy.
Anchor: And there are a lot of people who are THAT serious about sewing?
KATLEAN: Oh, yes. The American Sewing Guild, just to name one, has 125 chapters and more than a thousand individual groups. And we wouldn’t have Fashion Week without a lot of last-minute sewing!
Anchor: Ok. Number 3?
Katlean: At number three, Fitness sensors. They’re everywhere right now. They’re in workout clothes like the Hexoskin, which all by itself measures everything about your workout. There are companies like iFit which create a whole ecosystem to measure your health, your diet, your sleep, everything about you. And if you think this is all a bit too much, you can find a good-old-fashioned stylish analog watch, the Activite (Act-i-vi-TAY) watch by a company called Withings, which doesn’t tip you off as a total geek but still measures everything about your activity and sends it to a smartphone. And no one will ever know you’re a fitness maniac!
Anchor: And this is truly catching on as a trend? Wearables for fitness tracking?
Katlean: Yes—one research group says that by just next year more the fitness tracking industry will sell about 80 million devices.
Anchor. Number 2 on your list?
Katlean: At number two, I’ve got a gadget that’s not really a wearable but is really interesting, especially to women, as a tool to help them improve their appearance. It’s called the OKU, the world’s first personal skin coach. It is able to look under the surface using an iPhone-connected sensor that uses a special light to examine your skin and spot problems. It can detect moisture and pigment and wrinkles and all sorts of problems, and the companion App gives you advice on how to treat your skin to have maximum skin health—and the best possible skin appearance.
The OKU, which you can pre-order for 250-dollars, will ship this Spring and comes with a really stylish little dock which would look nice next to any makeup mirror.
ANCHOR: And what if you aren’t an iPhone user?
KATLEAN: They hope to roll out an Android user sometime late this year.
ANCHOR: Okay, what’s your number one coolest gadget at the intersection of fashion and technology?
Katlean: This is really mind-blowing. It’s also very appropriate for Valentine’s Week because it’s all about your heart. The Nymi Band (NIMM-MEE) memorizes your heartbeat, which is unique to you, just like your fingerprint —did you know that, because I didn’t. And no matter what you do, or how high your heart rate gets, that signature is the same.
So—get this—the NYMI band can send a signal to anything you need to unlock, from a car door to a password on your computer, and someday even to a hotel room door that you have booked, and anything else that either needs a password or needs a lock. It really is exciting to think about a future where you don’t need to remember any passwords or carry any keys for anything, you just need to make sure your heart is all good. So with that in mind, happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!