Fashion icon Iris Apfel has been announced as the face of US tech brand WiseWear's new wearables range, demonstrating a fresh, fashion-led approach for the company. Its Socialite collection of smart jewellery is aimed at women seeking a stylish way to stay connected and track their wellbeing.
Moving away from conventional wearable aesthetics, the technology is concealed within a gold- or platinum-plated bracelet, in tune with the recent trend for luxury metals within the technology market – see New Tech Aesthetics for more. The jewellery connects with the user's smartphone to send custom haptic alerts for text, email or calendar notifications, and can also be used as a wellness and activity tracker – counting steps and monitoring calories, for instance.
In addition, a safety mode enables them to send a distress signal to a list of pre-designated contacts. A tapping sequence sends a text message along with the wearer's location, and also triggers sound and video recordings.
Priced at $300, the band is currently available in three designs. As the technology is only housed in the bottom half of the jewellery, the top half can be swapped for different styles. Apfel has also stated an interest in designing future ranges for WiseWear, suggesting possibilities for tech-enabled belt buckles, necklaces and brooches.
Fashion collaborations offer technology brands a quick-fire route to validation within this space – as demonstrated by Intel's partnerships with Opening Ceremony and Luxottica. For more on new-look wearables, see our reports from last year's International CES and IFA Berlin. Watch out for our upcoming coverage of CES 2016 for the latest developments in personal, domestic and automotive technology.