Is technology the new glamour?
Next time you spot someone wearing coveted Apple Watch ask them the following question: “What prompted you to invest into this accessory?” The answer might lie on the intersections of fashion, technology, and luxury.
Technology has become an integral part of our everyday life, while fashion are the means that reveal our social status to the public eye. After all, it wasn’t long ago that we couldn’t carry our mobiles, laptops and tablets with us. Technology wants to catch up with fashion as an element of the social status public dis- play. Enter Smart Fashion. In fact, it is a long-awaited child of the “long-lasting marriage”. As Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman and Chief Executive of Conde Nast International, has said: “ Apple has created a new sec- tor: techno-luxury” in which technology is becoming luxury and luxury is becoming technology. Many fashion designers are aware that their clients want accessories for their iPhones or iPads. They want something read status symbols, which will address their position in society.
Technology has been regularly used by luxury brands to sell their products through the social networks. For example, Burberry’s loyal clients were able to buy their favorite looks from the live-streamed catwalk during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016. The days when the clients had to show great patience until the collection would be available at the stores are the thing of the past.
“So what does the future hold? What if we can open our car's door with our watch?”
When the Apple Watch was presented the last year by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, the need of partnership between technology companies and fashion’s leading luxury brands became more amplified. A high-tech wrist-wear must be useful without sacrificing style, not- ed many pundits. The Apple Watch should be elegant, and brand differentiated, in order to be more familiar to the people and generate a desire to purchase. However, what happens with the old fashioned, and more traditional luxury watch brands such as Tag Heuer or Rolex? Should they be worried about the future? According to Stephane Linder, Chief Executive of Tag Heuer, the Apple Watch is not a luxury product because it’s not unique or rare. “...At $350, it looks more mass market. A smart watch will be outdated and replaced ev- ery year. Luxury is about ease and elegance. There is nothing easy and elegant about carrying around an- other charger. Oh My God!” he adds. There are some truths to his obser- vations, but he failed to remember the lesson iPod taught the music industry: it was the iPod that helped Apple to get into the music business, forcing EMI Records Ltd to the brink of bankruptcy.
So what does the future hold? What if we can open our car’s door with our watch? What if we can call our car to pick us up from wherever we are as David Hasselhoff did in the 80s TV series “ Knight Rider”? All this is possible and not the question of how, but when! Key companies will fade out. Being affordable doesn’t mean a luxury consumer cannot find the item useful or appealing. Adidas sportswear, Victoria Secret underwear, and the Mini Cooper car are all affordable products and have been chosen by many wealthy consumers because of their quality. Perhaps, where technology does excel is the quality component. Technology as it seems will outlive us all. So yes, next time you wear your Apple Watch, and asked the question why you bought it - think of your answer in terms of quality not the status. σ