Are Smart Clothes the Real Future Of Wearable Tech?


2014 was supposed to be “the year of wearable tech,” but four months in, it seems clear that it’s going to take some time for wearables to go mainstream. The majority of attention is being paid to smartbands and smartwatches, and new entries to the market keep coming. Google has announced their expansion outside of Glass with smartwatch Android Wear, Nissan has unveiled a watch concept that would pair wearable tech with the car industry, Disney has made headlines with their new smartbands for guests, even Will.i.am is developing a smartwatch. The competition to be the star of tech that lives on our wrists is intense, but so far it is unclear whether consumers—even tech-hungry Millennials— are going to embrace these innovations. Research suggests that one-third of those who have purchased wearable tech abandoned their devices after just six months of use, causing some to wonder if the “next big thing” in tech is a harder sell than brands previously suspected. One of the big issues of wristband and Glass technology is that currently it is very noticeable and not necessarily stylish. We wrote that wearable tech would have to be either beautiful or undetectable to be embraced by a broader audience than the techie crowd, and the makers of these devices are heeding the warning, with Google partnering with glasses-maker Luxxotica for more fashionable Glass frames, and Intel working with Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York to create a wristband that actually looks cool. 

So what will the future of wearable tech actually look like? The answer may lie in the items that we already wear everyday. Smart clothes have the advantage of being less detectable and potentially more fashion-forward than current wearable tech items. The category also has the potential to be more naturally integrated…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because I am creating a punk sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon costume for comic con and I worked really hard on it, so I will wear it any chance I can.” –Female, 21, NY

The nostalgic details and music that filled Guardians of the Galaxy were a major part of making it the superhero movie that Millennials want right now, and they’re continuing to use that nostalgia now that the film is out of theaters. The movie’s soundtrack, Awesome Mix Vol. 1, is being released as a limited edition cassette tape this November, in time for Black Friday. The fact that cassette tapes are considered by many to be a dead technology won't likely stop young consumers looking for a retro-style piece of the movie. The album has already been released as a digital download, CD, and vinyl, and is already the tenth largest selling album of 2014 so far. (Billboard)

GoldieBlox has had impressive success as a toy startup focused on promoting engineering to young girls. Now the brand is expanding into digital products with their first (free) iOS app, GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine, and Bloxtown.com, a “digital playground” of interactive games. The app teaches about animation and allows young users to create GIFs that they can then use in a physical construction set they have built themselves. (PSFK)

Some of Vine’s biggest stars are coming to TV. Rainn Wilson, of The Office and SoulPancake fame, is working on a scripted comedy that will follow five of the app’s most popular Viners ”as they try to break into Hollywood.” The show, appropriately named Hollywood and Vine, will be the first traditional TV show to have a cast of mostly Vine stars, but could benefit from their online fans: the digital stars chosen have a collective following of over 30 million. (The Verge)

Breaking Bad was a story of meth and murder that was hugely appealing to older Millennial audiences, so some parents are objecting strongly to dolls of the main characters of the show being on the shelves at Toys “R” Us. A petition to take the Walter and Jesse action figures out of the chain and moved to “an appropriate store” was started online by one Florida mom and already has over 7,000 signatures. One of the figures comes with “a sack of cash, and a bag of blue crystals”—a.k.a. toy meth—so we can kind of understand the concern. (Racked)

Can Elsa and Anna help get kids to eat healthy? Previous studies have found that labeling fruits and vegetables with cartoons makes them significantly more appealing to children, and Disney-branded produce sales have reportedly tripled in the last two years. Bags of apples with Frozen and Spider-Man characters are being released this month as a continuation of the effort to get families to live healthier lifestyles. (Brand Channel)

Did you know every month, Ypulse surveys our Millennial panel of over 60,000, asking 1,000 14-32-year-olds about current events, seasonal trends, changing attitudes, and new norms? The results of these bi-weekly survey results are delivered to our Gold subscribers on Ypulse as downloadable tables, with data broken out by age, gender, ethnicity, location, and education. (Ypulse)

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