Welcome back to our series of wearable tech podcasts. Apologies for the slight respite these past few weeks, I was braving it at SXSW. But now I’m back and super excited to share the brilliant insights from our extensive conversation with Robin Raskin, Founder and CEO, Living in Digital Times.
I asked her to tell us about the cool, new beauty and fashion tech that she experienced at CES (Computer Electronics Show), which occurred right before our gathering at the National Retail Federation Big Show. She immediately throws out two fun ones: hi-tech kegel exerciser and remote controlled underwear—wowza! After a few laughs we dove into a number of high level observations, and they were fascinating. Overall, everything is connected to the internet now; everything is talking to each other. “It’s a turning point, explains Robin, “everything becomes collaborative, everything — everyone one — has to work together.” Here’s how that’s making it’s way into fashion/beauty tech:
1. Renaissance of Retail: People are going back to stores, but they are going to have an experience — think virtual mirrors, ordering on one’s own, getting personalized products on the spot. Thanks to advances in AI we can better anticipate and appeal to people’s needs right there and then. Retailers are learning from the likes of Disney theme parks and Carnival Cruises in their approaches to personalized, customized and intelligent solutions. As a result of all this new tech, stores will become more customer/front-end focused. So much will be automated so that sales people can spend less time in the back and can now service customers with much more time and depth.
2. More creative & personalized designs: 3D printed garments; clothing and accessories with LED lights; better fitting shoes and clothing, and the list goes. (Think back to our prior podcasts, and our conversations with Thesis Couture‘s hi-tech shoes, Thursdayfinest‘s 3D printed ties, scarves and hats as examples.)
3. Smart garments = the new wave: From the point of origin, to the manufacturing process to the wearer’s experience, garments will be trackable allowing for any glitches to be recognized and fixed anywhere along their lifecycle. Of course this also heralds advances in health, as we can monitor everything from people’s exercise levels, to dental hygiene to future stroke potential. A big shout out to my buddy, Heidi Lehmann (she was in our second podcast too) and her company Kenzen which develops smart clothing to monitor our health and track our physiology. As Robin put it: “we won’t need parents nagging us anymore…our clothes and jewelry will do all of it instead, lol!”
4. Self-promotion of artists and fashion/jewelry designers Thanks to technology artists won’t need to rely on stores, galleries or traditional media to promote them. This means more access to potential buyers and less costly approaches to making us aware of their talents.
As a final treat, I asked Robin what she saw as the next new cool beauty or fashion tech trend. She cited her favorite thus far which is a coat that gets warm during cold temperatures but then cools off as our bodies or the outside air temperatures rise. So cool no? (no pun intended, LOL)
As all of our podcasts have shown, we have hit a new and exciting era in fashion and beauty. No doubt we will have a bit to navigate through all of this, and we’ll have to determine what our limits are. Do we want to exchange our personal data for the exciting benefits of smart garments? Are we ready to explore totally new categories, e.g., jewelry or tech devices? Can we imagine wearing clothing or accessories that express our emotions?
Hell yes! Bring it on.
Some of these advances will fade, some will morph and some will take the world by storm. I can’t wait for it all!
To hear more brilliance from Robin, please click on the podcast below
And if you want to see us gab live, have a look at our periscope video for the podcast booth. Please skip ahead to 52 minutes in.