Fashion and technology haven’t always gone hand in hand. While we wear our phones in our hands we don’t always see them as stylish, and wearables are no different. We strap them on our wrist, and who knows where else, but they aren’t designed to mesh with our daily styles. Fitbit devices are a color strapped with a little screen, Jawbone tried to be fashionable, and Misfit tried to be minimalistic. The problem is they are all focusing on technology and bringing fashion into the conversation too late. WiseWear, a San Antonio based company, is taking an approach which perfectly blends technology and fashion. At first glance I wouldn’t think the WiseWear bracelets are anything but fashionable bracelets. Instead the devices pack fitness tracking and a way to send out a distress signal if you get into a sticky situation. Even legendary fashion icon Iris Apfel is behind the beautifully designed wearables.
The Socialite bands, Calder, Kingston and Duchess are available in both gold and silver, with the steep price tag of $300. The bands are expected to start shipping by the end of this month, and the company is planning on offering a subscription plan to send private security to your location when the device’s distress signal is activated. The Socialites distress signal is activated by tapping the band three times, which in an emergency isn’t always easy. When I asked how women could activate the distress feature quickly, they danced around the question stating the feature can be changed to something easier to activate. They originally had the taps to something more accessible, but received an abundance of false alarms. While the distress signal on the band is a great idea, its poorly planned out so far.
On the fitness tracking side they understand not everyone who buys the device is going to wear this 24/7 like they would with a Fitbit. They want you to wear this device when you’re going to an art gallery or a hot date, and switch back into something when you’re going for a run or to the gym. The data from the Socialite syncs with Apple Health or Google Fit, meaning you could have your Misfit or Jawbone data mixed into your Socialites data in one place. They claim the data is as correct as any other fitness tracker on the market.
In the end I’m not sure who the device is for. WiseWear claims the device is for older fashionable women, but for $300 I’m not sure the women are jumping for wearable fitness trackers on their wrist. Although, I doubt younger women would want to spend $300 for a wearable they would wear a fraction of the time. I do love the look of the Socialite bands, some of which I would love to wear myself. However, being underpaid all the time I doubt I could ever splurge on a $300 fitness tracking device. The band is a premium fitness tracking device no doubt, but I’ve yet to see a huge appeal for the device. Now don’t get me wrong the devices look amazing and something I would want, but the poor implementation of the distress feature and the high price are big diluents. The company has a product that isn’t refined or finished, but they are taking an iterative approach to hardware.
Now WiseWear is working on other wearables which infusion fashion and technology, and hopefully in a more affordable manner. They showed off a fitness belt at CES 2016 where they could get more accurate readings than on the wrist. When I asked them about heart rate sensors they started talking about wearable underwear with these sensors built-in. They said the underwear is something we always have on, which is true for most, and sensors built-in get more accurate readings. In the near future we could see full outfits from WiseWear, which isn’t all that bad of a future.
Tell us in the comments below what you think about fashionable wearables, and if they’re something you’d buy.