The Past 10 Years in Wearable Tech: A Visual History
Who What Wear is turning 10 this year! To celebrate our #WWW10 milestone, we’re looking back at the past decade of style.
With wearable tech becoming more prevalent and relevant with every season and fashion week, we thought we’d take a look back at its recent history. From the pioneers of fitness trackers to today’s ever-so-popular (and fashionable) Apple Watch, we’ve culled the highlights in fashion technology over the past 10 years.
Scroll through for our visual timeline to read more on each year, and then to shop our wearable tech picks!
Launched in 2007, Fitbit announced it would be creating a wearable tracker that collected data on a person's activities, such as calories burned, sleep quality, step count, and distance walked—all with the goal of inspiring better health, eating, and lifestyle habits. Despite financial difficulties related to production, the company is still around today.
In 2009, Glacier Computers designs a wearable computer that can be worn on the wrist—appealing to those in the emergency services fields for times in which hands should be kept as free as possible.
Both launched in 2012, the Pebble, a smartwatch that is still sold today, was designed to connect to cell phones for convenience (much like the Apple Watch), while the Nike FuelBand was the latest update in wearable fitness tracking. Around the time of launch, the FuelBand was constantly selling out thanks to its sleek design and connection to the Nike brand. It's eventual failure in terms of sales has been linked to the success and overlapping capabilities of Apple Watch.
In 2013, Google began selling its first prototypes of Google Glass (a headset display that’s worn like a pair of glasses) to select buyers for $1500. That year, Eva Chen was seen sporting the specs at New York Fashion week, and they were featured in a fashion spread in Vogue’s September issue, before they became available to the public one year later. They were discontinued from production in early 2015, but Google has since announced that they are continuing to develop and perfect the product.
In 2014, smart jewelry begins to take off as technology companies integrate more fashion into wearable tech. Intel partnered with Opening Ceremony on the MICA smart bracelet, which was sold at Barneys New York; Tory Burch collaborated with Fitbit (the designs are still available today); and Ringly launched their smart ring, which connects to your cell phone to discreetly notify you of only the most important calls and messages.
After years of anticipation and buzz, the Apple Watch was released in April of 2015 to positive reception from the general consumer market as well as the fashion world. It was sold at various well-known clothing and accessory stores including Colette in Paris and Maxfield in Los Angeles. Later that year they unveiled a collaboration with Hermès—incorporating their classic double leather band into the watch.
This year, the Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition titled Manus x Machine: Fashion in an Age of Technology explores none other than fashion in the digital age by juxtaposing traditionally manufactured pieces with technology-enhanced ones (think: 3-D printing and more). As usual, the designer and celebrity attendees of this year’s annual Met Gala will also honor this theme through their respective work and outfits. Fittingly, Apple will be the official sponsor.
Apple Watch Hermès Double Tour, 38mm Stainless Steel Case With Fauve Barenia Leather Band ($1250)
Do you utilize and wearable technology? Tell us what, why, or why not in the comments!
Opening Image: Timur Emek/Getty Images