In today’s world, the intersection of fashion and technology is not only becoming unavoidable but vitally important. Consumers want the best of both worlds: tech that serves a functional purpose and integrates into their personal style. And Fitbit, which currently offers designer collaborations with Tory Burch, PUBLIC SCHOOL, and Simply Vera Vera Wang, remains committed to making that happen.
To continue pushing the envelope of what’s possible, Fitbit recently partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)—a not-for-profit organization known for advancing the work of some of fashion’s most forward-thinking designers—to create a design opportunity that would foster creativity among the best and brightest emerging designers.
Together, Fitbit and the CFDA chose five up-and-coming brands focused on the intersection of fashion and tech who also share Fitbit’s commitment to approachability, versatility, and innovation: Chromat, DYNE, PH5, EFM, and Kim Shui.
The ask? Design Fitbit Versa accessories that showcase the brand’s vision for the future of wearables. A selection committee made up of key stakeholders from CFDA, Fitbit, PUBLIC SCHOOL, and Target then selected the designs that best aligned with Versa through a seamless integration of form, fashion, and functionality.
“The partnership between the CFDA and Fitbit opened the door for these five designers to imagine the next wave of fashion tech, an increasingly important space for our membership as technology becomes ever more prevalent in everything we do,” says Adam Roth, vice president of strategic partnerships at the CFDA.
Learn more about the designers, their proposals, and then find out which team’s work you can buy later this year.
Get to Know the Brands
Drawing on founder Becca McCharen-Tran’s background in architecture, New York City-based Chromat has been designing swim and athletic wear for strong, powerful women since 2010. Each collection explores the intersection of architecture, fashion, and technology through innovative design and technical fabrics that fit impeccably, empowering women and enhancing their bodies—no matter the shape or size.
For Fitbit, Chromat’s six submissions drew inspiration from strong metals—by incorporating delicate chains, chunky links, and O-ring accessories—and street-to-sport wear—by bringing leather and breathable elastomer bands and magnetic closures into the mix.
Like their moniker, menswear brand DYNE is a unit of force breaking the traditional limitations of active attire. Since its inception, DYNE has reimagined wearable tech—each piece of the brand’s athleisure-focused line contains NFC (near-field communication) technology, which provides consumers with interactive experiences based on their garments. By combining cutting-edge techniques and technical materials with traditional fabrics and old-world craftsmanship, DYNE creates clothes that allow you to effortlessly transition between work and play.
For Fitbit, DYNE suggested flexible bands made from knit and neoprene, durable accessories made of carbon fiber, sleek neoprene straps fitted with a low-profile Velcro fastener, and an exercise-friendly band made of bonded neoprene mesh.
Founded in 2014 by Wei Lin, a seven-time Ironman triathlete, and created by award-winning designer Mijia Zhang, PH5 is a contemporary women’s brand known for blending traditional structural knitwear techniques with a futuristic design aesthetic and high-tech textiles. “PH5” alludes to the numeric pH scale. According to the company’s website, “If 7 represented androgynous unisex labels and 1 represented the extreme feminine or sexy brands, PH5 would be a brand that’s leaning more towards the edgier side while keeping a touch of femininity.”
For Fitbit, PH5 proposed six types of knit bands in a variety of shapes and colors, including a stripe design inspired by the TCS New York City Marathon and another offering the shine and luxury of metallics.
Engineered For Motion, or EFM, is a menswear brand known for creating modern, sophisticated apparel that supports all the ways a body moves throughout the day. Founded in New York in 2014, EFM has been at the forefront of developing fabrics, manufacturing techniques, and thoughtful design details that allow their clothing to breathe, stretch, and improve men’s ease of movement. The result isn’t athleisure, but highly engineered and well-crafted garments with a refined sensibility and purpose.
For Fitbit, EFM reimagined the texture and closing mechanism of wearable bands, weaving in materials that incorporate everything from reflective tape to sports leather.
Kim Shui’s designs—which bring together elements of urban style, classic fabrics, sportswear, vintage, and couture—are as eclectic as she is. The Chinese-American Shui was born in the US but raised in Rome, Italy. She graduated from Duke University with a double major in economics and French before pursuing fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design, New York and Central St. Martins, London. She’s known for blending things that could clash, but end up working together in an unexpected way.
For Fitbit, Kim Shui explored a friendship bracelet in leather/suede and nylon thread, printed rubber and nylon bands inspired by Kandinsky’s art, and a chain bracelet that would look more fine jewelry than tech accessory.
Coming Soon to Fitbit.com and a Target Near You
While all the designs brought a unique and invaluable perspective to the design process, the committee ultimately gave PH5 the green light to bring three of their colorful, playful knit-band designs to market.
“We felt that the bands would seamlessly bring style to Versa while remaining true to PH5’s signature aesthetic,” says Youmi Bang, Fitbit’s senior product marketing manager in accessories. “As Fitbit continues to invest in different materials, like the woven bands for Versa Special Edition, we’re excited to dive deeper into textiles with a partner like PH5.”
Select designs from the PH5 collection will be sold exclusively at fitbit.com and Target in 2018 (Versa sold separately). More information on price and availability will be shared when the full line is announced later this summer. To be the first to find out, visit fitbit.com.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.