As the head of Head of Fashion Innovation at London College of Fashion, Matthew Drinkwater has been behind some incredible wearable tech pieces, including a glistening Tinkerbell dress and a Nokia smart skirt. We caught up with Matthew, who will be speaking at Web Summit, to chat fashion, tech and how they intertwine.
Forbes described the Tinkerbell dress as ‘the first example of truly beautiful wearable tech’. Could you name a wearable tech design that you consider to be beautiful?
I’m a massive fan of Kovert’s Altruis jewellery collection. The brand has a great take on technology’s influence over our lives and has delivered a gorgeous product to match.
Often, people hear “wearable tech” but think “gimmick”. What do you think will cause a shift in public perception with regard to the union of fashion and tech?
That’s a big question! Ultimately, it’s going to take time because it’s just not easy to build wearables that both look good and contain everything that consumers expect. So form and functionality will be the main driver for changing perception but we will get there. It won’t be too long before all our devices are smart and the phrase ‘wearable tech’ will begin to disappear. It will just be an expectation that a watch, a ring, a sweatshirt will be connected.
What’s one wearable tech piece you couldn’t live without?
I guess this is the one accusation that is always thrown at wearable tech – it hasn’t replaced the phone. Yes, I really like my Apple Watch but, right now, I can live without it. I hope the new OS changes that somewhat but I also think that we need to stop thinking about wearables as being this one thing that we can’t leave home without. Smart devices (and clothing) will have a huge variety of applications and we will use them all in different ways.
Could you give us a taste of what you’ll be discussing at Web Summit?
I’m looking forward to talking about the different ways that technology and fashion are coming together, what is happening right now and where the future opportunities might be. I may even have the chance to give a sneak peek of one of the projects I’m currently working on!
Finally, what words of wisdom do you live by?
Collaboration and co-creation – it’s an absolute must for bringing two VERY different industries together!
Matthew will be taking to the stage at Web Summit along with other fashion influencers, including Sonny Vu and Maria Hatzistefanis. Gain access to their talks by getting your hands on a Web Summit ticket.