Why This 94-Year-Old Icon Is Creating A Wearable

Photo: WiseWear.
Hearing that a 94-year-old woman is designing a line of wearable technology sounds somewhat odd (where's the twentysomething influencer?) — until you find out that the woman in question is fashion icon Iris Apfel. Apfel, who is still a major front-row presence at Fashion Week, has experienced a late career surge in recent years thanks to a Met exhibition in her honor, an eponymous documentary about her life, and a starring role in recent Kate Spade campaigns. It's only fitting that Apfel is embracing fashion's integration with tech herself as the consultant and face of tech company WiseWear's new Socialite collection, a line of three wearable bracelets. Additionally, Apfel is starting to design her own collection of tech-enabled wearables with the company. In terms of tracking capabilities, the Socialite bracelets, all of which link via Bluetooth to an app on your phone, are similar to other trackers save for one major difference. While they buzz to alert you to text and email notifications, and track calories, distance traveled, steps, and active minutes, they also feature "distress messaging." When you first sync the app with your phone, you're required to add an emergency contact. Should an emergency come up, you tap the bottom part of the bracelet a series of times to activate an alert message to your contact and send them your location. "I think it's pretty groovy," Apfel says of the collection. The bracelets don't come cheap — they range in price from $295 to $345 due to the 18 carat gold and palladium metals used to make them — but they are gorgeous. When asked how other wearables differ, Apfel is bluntly honest. "They're not beautiful and they're not fashion," she says. "They're great with sweatpants." Apfel says WiseWear wants its accessories to be something you can wear with pride to a board meeting, or a party. Apfel's favorite tech feature of the bracelet is one she thinks applies to seniors and "juniors" (what she adorably calls younger generations), alike: the ability to set calendar notifications reminding her to drink enough water. Proper hydration is exceedingly important, after all. As for the future of tech in fashion? "I don't have a crystal ball, but it's inevitable," Apfel says. "Tech is taking over, so it might as well be good-looking."

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