Louis Vuitton has announced its new Tambour Horizon smartwatch with Android Wear. Wearables, of course, are only one part of the fashion tech world, but they are perhaps the most conspicuous symbol of how technology is once again poised to remake not just design aesthetics, but law and social norms.
We’ll be discussing this in greater depth in our upcoming Silicon Valley Fashion Law Bootcamp, but for now I want to focus on what this highlights about what Professor Scafidi memorably referred to as “fashion as information technology.” Fashion has always been in the information business, from expressing the identity of both designer and wearer to the revolutionary role played by the Jacquard loom in laying the groundwork for modern computing. While collecting information has always been an essential element of design and commerce, the new fashion tech embodied in wearables and smart textiles connects the brand itself to the creator/wearer nexus. Clothes that once stopped communicating with companies upon leaving the shop now provide a continual pipeline of data, making fashion a quintessential information business.
With information equity rising in significance alongside goodwill and real estate, the potential for transformative change rivals that of early industrial machinery. We’re already seeing far greater potential for a net positive impact on the environment and health, a far cry from the world that gave rise to Dickensian deterioration and Marxist manifestos. Even with benign change, however, we can expect that the unprecedented access to data will give rise to new demands for regulation, which, like the aesthetic approach to technological design, will require an artful response.