When Wearables Met The Apprentice

Muchaneta Kapfunde | @FashNerdEditor

It was with great interest that I watched this week’s episode of BBC1’s reality show The Apprentice. Why, you might ask, well the contestants (I now refuse to call them business men/women) had to create a wearable fash tech device that would appeal to the consumer market, and since my passion is Fashion Technology I felt that I would have been a fool to not watch this episode and be enticed by their ‘forward thinking’ ideas.

For those not familiar with the show, every new episode the contestants are called in by the three mentors and given their task for the week. In this episode, they all gathered at Imperial College London to hear the week’s assignment. Within 2 minutes of the word “wearable tech” being uttered from Lord Alan Sugar’s mouth, the faces of the contestants turned rather gloomy. I could read the question mark that was apparent on each face. What is wearable tech? What has it got to do with fashion? OMG what am I doing here?

In those few moments I knew that the task was going to have them running around like headless chickens, and giving us, the viewers, some laughs and giggles as we painfully watched them be introduced to the world of wearable technology.

I must admit, after watching that episode I realised not only is the whole world not jumping on the wearable tech bandwagon, but there are still people out there who are completely baffled by its meaning and it’s place in our 21st century world. The fact is, the wearables chatter has been raging on for longer than you would think, and now that the world is sitting up and taking notice of its potential,  hindsight for some will quickly become a wonderful thing.

When it comes to progression,  one only has to look at the much-hyped Apple Watch. It made its editorial cover debut in Vogue China, just a week after one of the most revered magazines in fashion U.S.-version of Vogue printed an interview with Apple chief designer Jony Ive.


Clever Apple saw the light way before Rebecca Minkoff’s teamed up with Case-Mate to create a collection of wearable tech accessories. Apple strategically positioned itself in the wearable market as a fashion-forward brand. It is this insight that has led to them successfully communicating to the fashion conscious about their“not so ugly or clunky watch”. Apple is proving that they will be leading the world of fashion wearables sooner rather than later. With the help of former CEO of Burberry Angela Ahrendts and Jean-Claude Biver the former head of LVMH’s luxury-watch division, I do not doubt that they will become major players in the fash tech industry just as they did in the fast moving world of mobile technology.

It is no wonder with such an enviable investment in fashion power names that Apple were able to turn an event, usually reserved for tech press, into a fash tech meeting of minds with the likes of Editor-In-Chief of Vogue Anna Wintour and designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Lastly, as the Apple brain keeps ticking and coming up with innovative ways to keep ahead of the wearable fashion tech game, I am hopeful that in the next episode of The Apprentice the contestants will be forward thinking enough to recognise a good thing coming before it becomes yesterdays news.

Feel free to add to this article by sharing in the comment section below.