Toronto got a big dose of "firsts" on August 14, 2014 as the first Men's Fashion Week hosts the first wearable technology runway show in the city. Brain-sensing headbands, LED helmets and a tech tie were just a few of the pieces curated for the wearable technology fashion show that took place at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto.
The show was presented by We Are Wearables, a Toronto-based organization on a mission to make wearable tech accessible to both businesses and consumers. Its goal is to facilitate innovation and adoption of this emerging technology which is changing the face of both technology and fashion. The group is responsible for the largest wearables meetup in the country which takes place at MaRS Discovery District Centre every month and now has a community of over 1,400 members in Toronto.
The runway show was designed to showcase the spectrum of wearable technology from devices that help you better know yourself, like InteraXon's brain-sensing headband Muse, to jackets and other clothing that add a greater level of visibility through the use of LEDs, such as MeU's LED Panels.
"Wearable technology is as much about function as it is about design. We Are Wearables has selected pieces which have married the two perfectly," said Founder of We Are Wearables, Tom Emrich. "It is a huge win for this emerging technology to have it walk down the runway at a prestigious fashion week. Fashion is a critical component to wearables success. In order for this technology to be adopted, it needs to be something that people will want to wear. Our hope is that this show will highlight how stylish these pieces can be".
Many of the pieces selected for the show were Canadian companies or designers from Toronto. InteraXon's brain-sensing headband Muse is a brain fitness tool that helps you do more with your mind by detecting and measuring your brain activity and then guiding your through a set of exercises to help you improve your concentration and find calm. OCAD's The Social Body Lab showcased its wearable bike lights, Vega Edge. Its LED lights add increased visibility and a new form of flare to any outfit by clipping them on pieces of clothing or accessories using magnets. LEDs are also at the heart of the outfit using MeU panels by a company of the same name. MeU's LED panels can be customized with text or images using an app on your smartphone and the company have created custom animations for the event.
The runway show also brought pieces from outside the city. Austria's UTOPE showed its Sporty Supaheroe Jacket while Canadian-born but Sweden-based designer Angella Mackey of Vega, featured her bomber jacket. Both have integrated LED lights into the jackets themselves. And an LED helmet and computerized tie will be featured from two designers from Calgary, Jeff de Boer and Hannah Newton.
The Wearable Technology runway show occurred after We Are Wearables Founder, Tom Emrich, gave a TOM*Talk on "Wearing Our Tech" which explored how the worlds of fashion and technology are colliding and broke down the landscape of this type of technology which is growing at rapid rate.