The 5 Coolest Pieces Of Wearable Tech At New York Fashion Week

Brainwave readers, bioluminescence, and a cameo by Fibonacci.

Last week, thousands of fashion industry insiders descended upon New York Fashion Week for eight days of star-studded runway shows and copious street style photos. If you looked past the glitz, though, you saw that fashion is in flux. Young designers are imbuing their work with technology that, just a few years ago, would have seemed very out of place on the runway–much less the street. Here are a few great examples.

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Radical Biomimicry
The experimental New York-based fashion label ThreeASFOUR–a favorite of Björk and Yoko Ono–unveiled two sculptural 3-D printed dresses last week. Made in collaboration with New York designer Travis Fitch and the 3-D printing company Stratasys, the dresses are part of the label’s 2016 Biomimicry collection, which draws inspiration from both plant geometry and animal anatomy. For example, the Harmonograph dress is based on the Fibonacci sequence, the mathematical formula that defines so many patterns and forms in the natural world. Meanwhile, a dress called Pangolin borrows the structure of its scales from an Asian anteater of the same name, which is covered in distinctive keratin scales.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Fitbit

Fitness Tracker Or Statement Piece?
Meanwhile, a collaboration between Fitbit and New York-based ready-to-wear label Public School led to a hybrid of jewelry and hardware design. The collection, which debuted for the first time last week, includes two of Fitbit’s recently released Fitbit Alta in styles that range from metal statement pieces to sleek sport bands. The new designs echo a larger shift in the world of wearables, where the technology itself is woven seamlessly into the larger aesthetic statement a designer wants to make.

Catwalking/Getty Images

3-D Printing More Than Plastic
Alexa Adams and Flora Gill, the designers behind the New York-based label Ohne Titel, are known for their ultra-modern knitwear. For their latest collection, the pair used a combination of materials and fabrication techniques, including weaving, knitting, and a 3-D polymer, to create a lovely new type of textile that lies somewhere between lace and chain mail. Their collection illustrates how 3-D printing is coming of age in the fashion world, transforming from a novelty into a legitimate tool for creating new textures, fabrics, and more.


Fashion, As Designed By Your Brainwaves
As part of VFiles’ show at New York Fashion Week, New York-based designer Nayana Malhotra debuted her project Neurocouture, which involved wrapping models in projection-mapped pieces that were linked to consumer-grade EEG devices. A nearby computer was programmed to detect certain brainwave patterns, then produce animated GIFs that expressed corresponding emotions. Depending on the model’s mood, these GIFs would change and morph as they walked down the runway.

Anastasia Garcia via Chromat

Wearable Bioluminescence
Our favorite tech-infused pieces coming out of Fashion Week this year were part of Chromat’s glowing Lumina collection. Taking her cues from the conceptual artist Robert Irwin and the nature of bioluminescence, designer Becca McCharen used Intel’s Curie module (a button-sized wearable) and StretchSense’s flexible sensors to create clothing that glows in response to movement. It’s a compelling example of how, even as the fashion world gets more and more high-tech, designers are still taking cues from the natural world.


About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.