Recently, Wearable Style News sat down with Scott Amyx of Amyx+McKinsey, one of the foremost thought and market leading firms on wearables and the Internet of Things. He spoke with us about the kinds of opportunities that open up with wearables moving into clothing, jewelry, and other areas.
WSN: Our observation is that most wearables seem to be big on function but small on style, if you will. And certainly, that’s been the biggest complaint among fashionistas. Do you have an opinion on that? Is there a point where we’re going to get this style, this form and function to come together in a more elegant way in the wearables market?
Scott Amyx: I was talking to Mark [Hanna, CMO of Richline] about this very topic. When I work with fashion, apparel, and sports manufacturers, what I find is that the current wearables developers are taking a scientific approach, either medical or sensor or manufacturing, and not really looking at the final product until it’s too late.
What we as an industry should do is find a way, using an accelerator or an incubator program, to connect these startups with the major players, the Richlines and the Samsungs of the world, to create better wearables. We should marry the innovation of the startups with the tremendous, deep-bench expertise these big players have in the categories that they specialize in. A company like Richline knows what earring, necklace, or wedding band style is going to sell the most units tomorrow. Richline knows exactly what details – the type of materials, how stylish the piece should be, that sexy factor –will have a multigenerational appeal.
Otherwise, what you get is the current state of wearable devices, which are bulky, large, and frankly unappealing. I’m not a woman, but I know that women, especially the ones that are very stylish, are not going to wear the same jewelry item every day unless it’s a wedding band or something they received from a person they have a strong emotional attachment to.
Do you think anybody in the fashion world is there yet? Any wearable products that are sort of fashion first and function second?
It would be biased for me to name a specific brand, but what I can say is folks like Amanda Parkes, she gets it. She’s been interviewed extensively, and she’s written quite a few things that I’ve spoken of and referenced.
If we zero in on wearable jewelry, let’s assume it’s beautiful and elegant – what should we expect this jewelry to be able to do, from a functional standpoint?
When we first started talking about this with Richline, that question was the first thing that came up. And they mentioned the usual things, like notification and LED lights. But you don’t want your earring flashing because you got a phone call! You don’t want your necklace blinking and changing colors all the time. This is missing the point –wedding bands and necklaces that wearers adore have particular emotional attachments. A wedding band is a reflection of your commitment to your spouse. That’s huge. So similarly, that jewelry piece needs to further accentuate its core competency, which is what its significance is.
We can actually start to perpetually save and preserve your emotions for future generations 30 – 40 years from now, and even replicate emotions by simply putting on the jewelry – rings and bracelets and earrings – we wore on that day.
Right now, when I wear my smartwatch, it’s a piece of plastic that does nothing for me. It does not make me feel productive, it does not make me feel sexy, nor does it make me feel like I’m on top of things. Same thing goes with jewelry: the piece needs to accentuate why people wear jewelry in the first place.
It’s not about notifications; it’s not about the fact that you missed a call. Who cares if you missed a call? It’s about how that precious artifact means something to you. As an industry, we should be asking ourselves, “How do we further accentuate that?”