When I heard that one of my favourite online retailers, matchesfashion.com, was hosting a dinner to celebrate the launch of a fashion tech accessory brand, I got goosebumps. I wondered, is it Vinaya, maybe Ringly, Wisewear, Bella Beat, Everpurse or even Rebecca Minkoff, but alas no, it was none of these fashion tech accessory brands, instead, it was a London label, called Chaos.
Described by Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times as a “fashion brand with a focus on technology and lifestyle accessories”, Chaos, was self-founded by two stylists, Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall. Describing their collection as “luxury tech and lifestyle accessories”, the well connected duo are no strangers to the fashion world having worked on projects and campaigns for brands like Fendi and Anya Hindmarch. Wanting to explore the fashion industry further, the talented pair made the decision to enter the tech world and design a range of stylish functional accessories. On their design approach Strockdale told BoF “We want to give people what we want.”
“The collection was not really fashion tech as we know it to be today”
Sounding promising, I decided to take a moment to read up on their kitschy range. At first glance, I admit that the accessories are charming. As I took a closer look, I was quickly disappointed. The collection was not really fashion tech as we know it to be today. Instead, the collection was made up of accessories that housed technology. Available exclusively at Matches, the key pieces include customizable phone covers and attachable charms that brag motifs like broken hearts, cartoon slogans, and Valley of the Dolls-style pill capsules. Made out of deerskin, their USP seems to be that customers can customize the product with monograms, alphabet charms or zip lanyards.
In my humble opinion, it definitely is not technology, even though Stockdale believes otherwise after confidently confiding in NYT that, “I think we just saw a big gap in the market that neither technology nor fashion brands had tapped into yet.” On her statement I shake my head in disagreement. I do not think that it is a case of there being a gap in the market, but more that a lot of designers have moved on from designing mobile phone covers.
So as the new ‘fashion tech’ brand on the block, where exactly is Chaos headed? Well Stockdale and Lyall want to create a full desk collection. We just hope that they explore beyond the mobile phone covers. Although some might argue that phone covers are fashion and the phone itself is technology, and therefore qualifying their collection as fashion tech, I say to that“this was maybe true 10 years ago”. To their advantage the world of ‘fashion tech’ is still in its infancy, and is yet to be clearly defined, which means that if Chaos, truly wants to step into the fashion tech market, then they need to first understand that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]simply calling something fashion tech does not make it so[/inlinetweet]. Instead, it causes unnecessary confusion in an already chaotic industry that is still trying to find its voice.