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A wearable to go with that little black dress

Author: Sienna Haynes
by Sienna Haynes
Posted: Jul 20, 2015

Although lots of people like technology and fashion, the two don't always mix. After all, no one wants to resemble a well-dressed robot.

With many tech wearable devices becoming available to consumers, including smart watches and fitness tracking devices, the demand for gear to accessorize with clothes is becoming more important—especially to females. According to a study by The NPD Group, women outnumber men among prospective buyers of wearable devices, and are more likely to use smartphones for just about everything.

The landscape paves the way for designers like Rebecca Minkoff, an accessories and apparel designer who has recently launched a smart jewelry collection for her fashion-forward clients. The combination of high fashion and high technology is targeted at those who want to be plugged in, and in vogue.

"Our consumer has her phone in her hand all the time," Minkoff told CNBC's "On the Money"in an interview. "She's in touch with technology. It would only make sense for us to communicate to her in a way she receives information."

She added that there was an additional incentive that can help alleviate a very modern etiquette problem.

"We wanted you to be able to have a meeting or go out with your family and not constantly have you look at your phone," Minkoff added.

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Uri Minkoff, the designer's brother works alongside her as cofounder and CEO of the company, said the theory behind the tech-focused accessories was to given women something stylish to wear, and would be seen as tech-savvy.

Minkoff's 'smart jewelry' comes as the market grows both crowded and in demand. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 10 percent of shoppers made plans to purchase fitness trackers last holiday season—putting wearables among the hottest Christmas gifts for the past two years.

"If we give you a great price-value ratio and you felt great with it, then having the technology is just a boost," said Uri Minkoff.

Last month AT&T, the second largest provider of mobile phones announced they'll be carrying several wearables in their stores, including Minkoff's Notification Bracelet. Priced at $120, the bauble vibrates when you receive a text or call from one of 25-most preferred contacts.

Uri's software background also played a role in creating a digital driven shopping experience in the designer's brick-and-mortar locations.

Last year, the brother-sister team began working with eBay's retail innovation group to incorporate technology for an in-store shopping experience.

Shoppers are greeted by a large screen that lets them finger-swipe through clothing styles and select items to that await them in the store's interactive dressing rooms. Those are outfitted with touch-screen mirrors that allow customers to request different sizes, and input information about their shopping experiences to their phones.

With her designs already sold in nearly 900 Nordstrom locations, as well as in her currently retail locations in New York City, San Francisco and Hong Kong, Rebecca Minkoff plans to open new stores in Chicago, Los Angeles later this year.

The designer considers herself lucky that she was able to take her passion for fashion and share it with her brother. Together, they co-founded a company that is both a family-business and growing fashion empire.

"He's forward thinking with technology, and I make some pretty things sometimes," she added, "so I think it's like a perfect storm."

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Author: Sienna Haynes

Sienna Haynes

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Australia

Member since: Jun 18, 2014
Total live articles: 201

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