Intel to make ‘wearable tech’ with fashion partnerships

Tuesday, 07 January 2014
Technology giant Intel is making a push into fashion with an announcement that it is teaming up with Barneys New York, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Opening Ceremony to produce ‘wearable tech’. Announced as “strategic collaborations” at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel is hoping that that the partnerships will accelerate wearable device innovation, as well as increase dialogue between the fashion and technology industries.

The project will launch with a collaboration between Intel and Opening Ceremony with the creation of a “smart bracelet” designed by the retailer based on Intel technology that will be sold in Barneys, making the department store one of the first outlets to embrace wearable tech. However, details regarding the design, the price point or release date was not disclosed at the announcement.

"The collaborations are indicative of Intel's collective and conscious approach to the wearable market," said Ayse Ildeniz, vice president, Business Development and Strategy of Intel's New Devices Group. "Through these initiatives we will combine Intel's leading technologies with Opening Ceremony's design prowess, Barneys New York's track record to identify the next consumer trends, and CFDA's commitment to advance innovation within the fashion industry. Our shared vision is to accelerate wearable technology innovation and create products that both enhance peoples' lives and are desirable to wear."

Carol Lim, co-owner of Opening Ceremony, added: "Humberto and I have always allowed our curiosity to take us to uncharted waters. Since our early travels and shopping sprees in Asia, we've been keen on discovery.

“This is an incredibly exciting and unique opportunity with Intel to bring our design vision to a wearable accessory that collides with Intel's state of the art innovation with fashion. We are diving in to embark on a journey with Intel and can't wait to see where it will take us. Intel is a company that has powered our lives in countless ways and now we get to be a part of shaping the 21st century with them."

Intel partners with fashion industry

The technology firm is also partnering with the CFDA to create a community for technology developers and fashion designers to “network, match-make, cultivate and exchange ideas” on wearable technology. It is hoped that this collaboration will connect more than 400 leading fashion designers with a Intel’s developers to create a host of new products.

Ildeniz, explained: "The collaborations will merge the expertise of two very distinct disciplines of technology and fashion, essential in realising the vision of prolific adoption of wearable technology. Intel's aim is to initiate sustainable, long-term cooperation between the technology and fashion worlds beginning with the today's announcements."

Daniella Vitale, COO of Barneys New York, commented: "One of the greatest opportunities for wearable technology as a concept to be successful is fairly simple - to design a beautiful accessory that our customers would desire.

"It is exciting to be part of an elite group of brands to bring the reality of smart fashion to life. In collaboration with Intel, we are excited to announce that Barneys New York will be one of the first luxury retailers to merchandise a beautifully designed, smart accessory from Opening Ceremony."

Additionally, Intel also launched the ‘Make It Wearable’ challenge to encourage innovation with its technology. The global contest calls for designers and entrepreneurs to design wearable tech to be in with a chance of winning a slice of the 1.3 million dollar cash prize fund. Winners will be announced by January 2015.

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