Eye On Apparel: High-Tech Style


Take a look at your wrist, on your desk, or in your backpack or purse. Your accessories are smart. You’ve donned an Apple Watch or Fitbit for years now, and when you’re away from the office, one of your favorite pastimes is plugging into a podcast via wireless headphones or reading on your Kindle. When you return home from an evening workout, you have an app that connects your smartphone to your intelligent personal assistant, like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, which adjusts the temperature and lighting in your living room to complement your body temperature and mood. But now, it’s time to give your wardrobe a literal update, too, with the latest, greatest and most innovative in smart wear.

It’s Cool—But Is It For Me?

Smart wear is, without a doubt, hip, but that’s nowhere near the key benefits it offers to clients, which is its real purpose. Let’s take a look at some of the diverse advantages of smart wear and wearables.

‘Round the clock health monitoring. One of the major paybacks of wearable tech is the health aspect. With an increased surface available for monitoring bodily functions, smart wear can provide richer biometric data than smart accessories. Some products are specifically tailored to accommodate end users diagnosed with chronic illnesses, or those recovering from sickness or injury, to be more in touch with what their body needs. According to Science Daily, these products can also simultaneously update patients’ doctors, allowing professionals to monitor patients from a distance, which helps to lower the number of ER visits.

Fitness accountability. Companies looking to provide end users with a way to challenge themselves in the fitness department can offer wearable tech products that closely track progress. Under Armour, for instance, has a line of smart sneakers with a material that tracks customers’ speed, stride, path and pace. End users can access reports about their runs by downloading the Under Armour MapMyRun app, which also puts them in touch with nearby runners and enables their friends to track their progress for some healthy competition. If recipients already have running shoes, there’s smart socks available in the wearable tech market that provide an accurate step count, calorie count and more.

Staying organized. Don’t feel like carrying your phone in-hand all day? No problem. Forgot your smart watch at home? No biggie. Smart clothing can keep you organized, while putting you in touch with smart functions needed when on the go. In 2016, Levi’s and Google produced a denim jacket that allowed wearers to screen calls, use their GPS and access audio by linking the jacket to a mobile device via Bluetooth. In 2018, an update allowed users to drop pins on their locations, receive alerts when their Uber was en-route and when it arrived, and tap an Aware Mode to identify surrounding sounds to send through the user’s headphones—the latter option was made specifically for bikers. To access the jacket’s features, users had to download the Jacquard app and link it to their Google accounts.

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Phone calls, step count and GPS are now considered “basic” wearable functions, but these accessories can provide far more specific uses, like:

Giving you a nudge when it’s time to get moving. French startup Emiota designed its Belty Good Vibes, a belt that vibrates when it senses the wearer sitting for too long, slouching or not drinking enough water.

Keeping you in the know. New York-based smart jewelry and accessories company, Ringly, offers smart rings that can be connected to users’ phones via Bluetooth, updating wearers when they receive a notification by vibrating or illuminating. To distinguish between texts, voicemails, missed calls and other notifications, users can customize the vibration and light patterns.

Reminding you to keep cool. French jewelry designer Camille Toupet creates a bracelet that reminds wearers when they’ve had too much sun. The bracelet requires users to answer questions about their eye, hair and skin colors in its accompanying app, and uses sensors to take UV ratings, which are relayed to the wearer. The bracelet also reminds users when it’s time to reapply sunscreen.

Telling you when to take a chill pill. Bellabeat, a high-tech company that makes smart jewelry with a U.S. location in San Francisco, makes the Leaf Urban, an accessory that can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or brooch that monitors the wearers’ fitness and stress levels.

Giving your heels room to heal. Zhor-Tech, a French company, designed smart high heels, which not only permit wearers to track their activity by connecting to a related app, but they can change the height of their heels with the click of a button; a real game-changer for strained soles. With a top height of 3.1 inches and a minimal height of 1.7 inches, wearers can seamlessly transition from heels to near-flats without pause.

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According to Carol E. Torgan, Ph.D., the deputy chief and strategic finance outreach at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, every wearable tech accessory must possess three characteristics to be well-received by consumers.

The clothing must be designed to serve or meet a need, not as a way to showcase progressive technology.

The clothing must better the quality of the user’s life or provide them with a solution to a common problem.

The clothing must make recipients feel something, whether that something is attractive, content, influential, self-assured or simply comfortable.

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A great product to present to end users who are runners or aficionados of outdoor activities, the Music Wireless Headband will warm and protect their ears during cool weather, while they jam out comfortably to their favorite tunes. It eliminates the aggravation of headphones being shaken out of place by the momentum of running and also includes a microphone and on-headphone controls with prime space for a center focus logo.

Sweda Company LLC  /  PPAI 113914, S11  /  www.swedausa.com

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For all-day listening, offer the Runner Wireless Beanie. This warm, ribbed, knit beanie includes built-in rechargeable, wireless headphones, which can be easily removed prior to hand-washing. The beanie includes controls, a built-in microphone and an LED indicator. Add an embroidered logo or brand message on the front-facing part of the beanie. Available in black (shown).

Sweda Company LLC  /  PPAI 113914, S11  /  www.swedausa.com

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These glasses are fun, fresh and fashionable, but they’re most sought-after for what you can’t see. The first audio sunglasses produced by Bose, the Frames Rondo – Black provide users with a musical, narrative or ambient soundtrack that is nearly undetectable by others. But it isn’t limited to a personal audio experience—the sunglasses also allow users to make phone calls, all the while blocking up to 99 percent of UVA/UVB rays.

Incentive Concepts  /  PPAI 212912, S10  /  www.incentiveconcepts.com

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Provide clients with an immersive experience they can enjoy time and time again, whether in the office (on lunch break) or at home. The King Cobra VR Viewer with head strap is a hands-free virtual reality viewer with a full-size headset and a built-in trigger, permitting users to interact with their games and apps. Users simply scan a QR code on the viewer’s side using their smartphone, then attach their phone to the viewer for a customized experience.

HandStands  /  PPAI 111285, S7  /   www.handstandspromo.com

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When end users reach for their wireless earbuds, make sure it’s your client’s brand that gets the attention. The ATOM Wireless Earbud Headset offers high-quality sound with 3.5 hours of talk/listen time and 40 hours of standby time under a single one-hour charge. The bold, full-color graphic not only displays a client’s logo, but serves as the earbud’s control panel, where users can power the earbuds on and off, play and pause audio, activate voice control and ask Siri or Google to make calls or texts.

HandStands  /   PPAI 111285, S7  /   www.handstandspromo.com 

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Provide end users with an easier way to remember their USBs, while providing your client with all-day brand exposure. FlashBand Drive is a customized USB flash drive fashioned into a durable, rubber bracelet that doubles as an accessory. Personalize the bracelet with custom color choices and capacity sizes ranging from 64MB to 32GB. Also available is a new glow-in-the-dark USB wristband.

Qpromo /  PPAI 344904, S1  /  www.qpromo.com

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Perfect for clients who work in offices, in tech or busy clients who are constantly on the go, the Lanyard Power Cable is an ultra-soft, nylon charging solution built into a convenient, wearable lanyard. Users will rock your client’s brand throughout, while never forgetting their charge.

Qpromo   /  PPAI 344904, S1  /   www.qpromo.com

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A recognition item or appreciation gift that’ll accompany end users wherever they go, the Nomad Must Haves Flip-Top Backpack is a gift set that includes wireless earbuds and an 8,000 mAh UL-certified power bank for charging on the go. The backpack accommodates all tech essentials, with a compartment for laptops up to 15.5 inches wide, and a concealed, zippered, safety pocket for storing credit cards or a cell phone, along with room for two large external water bottle packs. Adorn a logo on the backpack, the earbuds holder and the power bank exterior.

Spector & Co.  /  PPAI 168328, S9  /  www.ashburybags.com

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A compact carrying case perfect for daytrips, trips to the gym or running errands, the Sling Bag communicates the message of convenience and organization. The crossbody bag holds a cell phone in a neoprene-backed mesh pocket, with black or blue color options, and includes an adjustable shoulder strap. Also included is an earbud kit—available in white, black, red, orange, green, and blue—with a built-in microphone for answering calls, a durable, zippered case and two extra pairs of silicone ear plugs, and the earbuds can be accessed easily using a slot in the bag. To keep an all-day charge, the 2,200 mAh, UL-certified power bank—available in black, grey, blue, and red—is rechargeable, with an LED light that turns from red to green when it is charged, and blue when it’s charging another device.

Spector & Co.  /  PPAI 168328, S9  /  www.ashburybags.com

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A great choice for promoting health and wellness as part of an internal initiative, or for keeping the brand message going (and moving) for fitness facilities, the 3Plus HR Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor is a comfortable band with a bright touch-screen display that tracks and displays the wearer’s daily steps, calories burned, distance traveled, active minutes, quality of sleep and heart rate. End users can download the complementary free app, 3Plus Elite, to further track their data and compete with friends who are also using 3Plus products. To not discourage activity during rain or snow, the tracker is water-resistant. Available in teal and black (shown).

Hirsch Gift, Inc.  /  PPAI 221823, S9  /  www.hirschgift.com

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A unique option for entertainment with an added safety component, the JBL Soundgear Wearable Wireless Sound allows end users to wear the around-the-neck, ergonomic device for a personal sound zone experience, while staying attentive to their surroundings. The device is Bluetooth-enabled, permitting streaming from compatible devices, and features Quad transducers with Bass boost and six hours’ worth of playback time. With a recharge time of just two hours, the device also provides clear phone calls with its dual mic conferencing system with echo-cancelling technology. Available in black (shown).

Hirsch Gift, Inc.   /   PPAI 221823, S9  /   www.hirschgift.com

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The 3 Finger Text Gloves by Suntex Industries is a must-have, especially for anyone who owns a smartphone and lives and/or travels to chilly destinations. These knit gloves feature three-finger activation, permitting the wearer to send and respond to messages without exposing their hands to the elements. As part of a campaign, a cable provider distributes the gloves, decorated with their logo, to all their outdoor workforce to make their jobs easier—and more comfortable. For another campaign, a credit union distributed the gloves to customers to promote the use of its mobile/online banking services (pictured). The conductive fingertips are black on each activation finger, and the gloves are available in royal, red, purple, navy, fluorescent yellow, fluorescent pink and black.

Suntex Industries  /  PPAI 113094, S5  /  www.suntextindustries.com

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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