for the future of granola.
This is by no means the first time in the history of design that technology and fashion have been entangled. Art deco, a sleek 1920s machine aesthetic, inspired evening gowns with the look of automobiles and skyscrapers. The 1920s Bauhaus movement advocated universal access to elegant design through the forms and economies of mass production. In the 1960s André Courrèges, trained as a civil engineer, "built" geometric fashions out of plastic and metal. His miniskirts and space boots conveyed the glamour of NASA's rocket program, like the cartoon clothing of The Jetsons and the stylized uniforms on Star Trek.
In these various movements, fashion provided an instant reinterpretation of technological developments. But now the shoe is on the other foot: Tech companies are reinterpreting fashion by inventing "wearables."
The metaphor is worth considering. Fashion is worn on the body. It reveals, hides, shapes and stages the body, as both a personal and a social expression.
But what we wear is at the same time a technology - indeed, one of the oldest. When Courrèges promoted his tights as a "second skin," he could have been speaking of clothing in general: Shoes are tech extensions of the feet, hats of hair, glasses of eyes and so on. As tech companies produce wearables such as Google Glass, Apple's iWatch, and eventually the endless varieties of computerized clothing that Corning's bendable glass could soon make possible, the boundary between fashion and technology may disappear altogether.
Ultimately, some fear, tech devices will merge with the body completely - as tattoos and prostheses and genetically-engineered inserts - at which point the human body will have been "fashioned" beyond anything Burberry could imagine. But before that bionic future, tech devices will function more like fashion.
"Apple has to stop thinking like a computer company," writes blogger Om Malik, "and more like a fashion accessory maker whose stock-in-trade is not just great design but aspirational experience."
No industry understands how to generate "aspirational experience" better than high fashion. We have only to watch Diane von Furstenberg promoting Google Glass to see the strategy in play. In the Glass video, we hear DVF's advice to her models as they strut the runway in their Google Glass: "The most important thing is that you are yourselves and you think of the woman you want to be and you just have fun and be beautiful."
The video is actual footage of the runway