There are lots of wearable technology gizmos already on the market, including a plethora of smartbands and sunglasses that you literally cannot lose (plus conceptual pieces not yet available, like a sports bra that ventilates based on your body temperature and sweat levels). But how about a frock or shades that let you pay for stuff sans a credit card? Adam Selman is working with MasterCard on a few items — a dress that's available in two patterns, a pair of gloves, earrings, and a clutch — that have mobile payment chips embedded in the seams.
The designs debuted in Las Vegas on Monday, at the Money 20/20 Conference; the sunglasses are a thick riff on the cat-eye, while the dress is empire-waisted with a flowing bow that holds the currency-replacing chip. The gloves are a bright-yellow and black checked print with ruffled trim, housing the chip on the back of the hand. "[MasterCard] gave me total leeway; the idea was less about a specific product than about changing how we think about paying, which is what designers need to do: push boundaries, think about what’s next," Selman told The New York Times of the futuristic project.
MasterCard is also pairing up with Ringly and Nymi (smart-ring and -band brands, respectively) on products that fully replace cash or plastic, but Selman is the only fashion designer currently involved. Beyond things you can actually wear that work as payment modes, MasterCard is also working with General Motors and TrackR, a bluetooth fob that ensures that your wallet, keys, an other essentials don't go MIA, on utilizing the payment technology. (Check out this video to see many of these payment-powered goods in action.) “This program eliminates the boundaries of how we pay by delivering a secure digital payment experience to virtually anything — rings, fitness and smart bands, car key fobs, apparel, and whatever comes along next," MasterCard's chief emerging payments officer, Ed McLaughlin, said in a statement.
No word yet on where the pieces will be carried, or how costly the game-changing items will be. Selman's designs are expected to become available in the second half of 2016. That should be pretty convenient timing for the next Met Ball in May, which is themed "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology." Springtime might not be ideal glove-wearing season, but we'd expect to see at least one pair of those shades in attendance, perhaps on a certain Selman superfan named Rihanna.