The Minkoff has spoken. She admitted that almost everything going on in wearables at the moment is horrible. She shared these rather harsh words during the Fast Company Innovation Festival that is currently taking place in New York until the 4th November 2016.
Rebecca Minkoff is a designer famous for being unafraid to adopt the latest technology. Seen as a pioneer of the merge, it is understandable that she is frustrated with where we are at the moment. True, we are not anywhere near perfect, but fashion technology is still in its infancy, so therefore it is better to pay more attention to where we are headed rather than where we are at. I have digressed a little, so let me continue.
“Fashion technology is still in its infancy, so therefore it is better to pay more attention to where we are headed rather than where we are at.”
Not shy in sharing her opinion, Minkoff told Mark Wilson of Fastcodesign.com that what everyone is doing is wrong. Is it? I must disagree. There might be some shocking attempts, but I think overall the nouveau industry is improving product by product. Think back to when we celebrated the technology our beloved rubber fitness tracker offered us and now we evolved to the Misfit Phase watch, which in my opinion, is a sign of progress.
As the conversation Minkoff and Wilson continued, the designer made it clear that men were to blame for some of the ugly tech that has graced our presence. She thought that reason behind this was because they are trying to design for women. How dare they right? I disagree with this rather bold statement. True, some men are usually are quite clueless about women’s design needs, but I think the problem is more to do with fashion than function. Everyone’s idea of what is stylish differs quite a bit. There are fashionable influencers who think the Apple Watch is the most beautiful ‘wearable’ created and others like NYT Vanessa Friedman who have gone on record stating, “no matter how attractive the Apple Watch is, it is still a gadget”.
“You’ll never see the innovation that would take place with equal parity at the table.”
As their conversation continued it headed down towards the road of STEM. On this Minkoff stated that, “You’ll never see the innovation that would take place with equal parity at the table.” I think this is a utopian way of thinking. There is never equality in any industry. There is always a group that is not quite represented. The solution is to try and make it equal, but not use it as an excuse to why an ugly necklace was what we ended up with when a fashion brand and technology company came together.
I think it is great that she voicing concerns that need to be addressed, but having a woman on the design team is not solely going to solve the problem. That woman might not have the kind of style ideas that will be universally accepted by the majority of women. We do not need just a woman, we need a talented woman on the design team who can be the voice that brings up solutions that we can all stand behind. These women could be the likes of Maddy Maxey, Kate Unsworth, just to name a few.
“Shirts that light up or a dress that reacts to your mood are gimmicks that are all about getting press.”
As the chat came to an end there was one thing that Minkoff said that I kind of agree with and that is some designers are falling into the trap of creating garments that are more gimmicky than innovative fashion tech. She states that “shirts that light up or a dress that reacts to your mood are gimmicks that are all about getting press”. When it comes to technology, Minkoff admits that her and Uri (her brother) always try to think along the lines of how they can help us. She admits that when it comes to creating a wearable it all comes down to knowledge and what we actually want.
For Minkoff getting press based on notoriety is where the wearable industry is getting it wrong. It needs to be more about unlocking an experience, because according to Minkoff these are the technologies that women would get excited about.