Pretty Geeky is an ongoing series that explores the role of style and design in wearable technology.
Some of San Francisco’s own fashion bloggers and members of the stylish set turned up for an exclusive Poshmark event at Bar Agricole on Tuesday, August 26. Poshmark, the e-commerce platform for women to sell items from their own closets or shop from re-sale apparel, hosted this night of meeting and mingling against the backdrop of a gorgeous, wood-paneled patio.
With rumors about Apple debuting its first smartwatch on September 9 and with health wearables being all the talk amongst techies and fitness heads for lately, wearable gadgets are definitely having a moment. But, devices with bulky shapes and masculine-leaning design aren’t the most accessible accessories for a large swath of people, namely fashionable women.
According to NPD Group, women outnumber men as prospective buyers of wearable technologies, accounting for 58% of potential customers. Companies that can figure out how to appeal to this demographic could be poised to do very well in a deepening and growing market.
“For me, the big factor is style. I need a wearable that is integrated seamlessly into my accessories, something with high design, something that is subtle, everyday, and timeless. Nothing gimmicky—just a wearable that could be worn for years,” said Tafoya.
Poshmark’s Director of Merchandise and Undeniable Style blogger Kate Franco usually keeps her Fitbit hidden. She’s now thinking of switching over to a Nike FuelBand because of its minimalist design. She believes wearables do have a market, and teaming up with fashion brands could give certain gadgets an edge.
“I love wearing watches—I wear one everyday,” said Hale. “Smartwatches are too clunky. There’s definitely potential for wearables if they were smaller and more modern, but there isn’t anything out there right now.”
“I wouldn’t wear Google Glass,” said Ensign. “It’s too complicated. I already have my laptop, iPod, iPhone, and I look at those enough. I don’t need something else to check.”
For Googler and WTFab blogger Elise Armitage, today’s range of fitness wearables just don’t fit seamlessly into her wardrobe.
“The Jawbone is this kind of ugly thing around your wrist,” said Armitage. “For wearables to work, you do need to have both the tech and fashion side. Google Glass isn’t that fashionable, but with the right design it could look fantastic.”
Michelle Liu, an intern at San Francisco lifestyle blog Shop Sweet Things, told me that while she doesn’t own any wearables herself, she is interested in trying them out.
“I see videos of fashion shows where designers print out their own clothes,” said Liu. “It’s so inspiring. I’m an advocate for the fusion of fashion and tech.” But wearables will have to do a better job of reaching out to her and other consumers like her. “I’m not as exposed to wearables,” she said. “I haven’t stumbled upon them, none of my friends wear them, H&M doesn’t sell them. I would be willing to try one if it were more accessible to me.”
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Lead image by Madeleine Weiss, images by Stephanie Chan