Hotwiring Haute Couture: Tech in Your Wardrobe and on The Runway

Wearable technology is likely to be a key element in the way we remember the fashion of the ‘10s.

By Julia Arciga

Feature image: The Dior Eyes virtual reality headset, courtesy of Dazed 

The trends of fashion eras—the ‘20s, ‘50s, ‘60s—are reflective of the society and zeitgeist of their respective moments in history. What will the kids of the year 2070 define our fashion era as? What are our society’s defining details? Wearable technology is likely to be a key element in the way we remember the fashion of the ‘10s.

Technology is involved and integrated in our lives at almost every level and in almost every aspect. Fashion is no different. What are some examples of this? Light-up sneakers. Fitbits. Apple Watches. Those rings that vibrate and light up when you get a text message. There are even entire websites devoted to wearable technology. Having your tech with you is no longer enough—having it on your body is the hot new thing. One part of it is the practicality: Fitbits monitor steps and motivate people to get up and moving. Apple Watches and those cool tech rings allow the wearer to know what’s happening on their smartphone without having to look at it.

Another part of it is personal: Fashion, at its heart, is all about self-expression and artistry. Taking into account how wired some of us are, it’s not much of a stretch to see how tech would be a part of your everyday wardrobe. From what color Beats you rock when strolling down the sidewalk to what kind of phone case you have, the choices we make to personalize our tech allow us to differentiate and express ourselves. In other words, we inject our tech in our style.

But even beyond the everyday “style” choices we make involving the tech we tote, the high fashion world has been getting involved in tech in a big way. Since the fashion industry is a whopping $1.2 trillion dollar industry, it’s no surprise that the Garment District and Silicon Valley are getting cozy.

Dior, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious fashion houses, recently designed a virtual reality headset called “Dior Eyes” that will be available for sale in June. Designers across the industry have been using LED and 3D printing in their pieces for their 2016 collections. Balenciaga announced in March that they would be livestreaming their Autumn-Winter 2016 fashion show in 360 degree footage—following in the footsteps of Dior’s Spring-Summer 2016 live stream.

For this year’s Met Gala, the theme was Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology.” Adhering to the “tech white tie” dress code, many tastemakers and stars dressed in structured metallics and futuristic, sleek silhouettes. Some even integrated tech into their looks: Claire Danes, star of Homeland, wore a Zac Posen ball gown that, quite literally, glowed-in-the-dark with the fiber-optic woven organza it was made of.

While it’s a common notion to say that “history repeats itself” and “fashion is cyclical,” history will look back at the ‘10s as a period of innovation, tech integration, and as a plunge into futuristic, hotwired fashion.

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