It had to happen. That female fashion perennial the Little Black Dress (LBD) has gone high-tech. The M-Dress allows wearers both to make and receive mobile calls by "gesture recognition". Martyn Warwick reports.
A London, UK-headquartered fashion house, CuteCircuit, has designed "a dark, richly-textured, knee-length, form-fitting silk jersey dress" that includes embedded soft-circuit mobile telephony technology. Wearers/users slip their SIM card into a little slot beneath the label at the back of the dress and the antenna is stitched into the hem while users talk into the cuff of the left-hand sleeve and hear the call in the same way. The only thing CuteCircuit fails to tell us is where the battery goes.
So then, the M-Dress doesn't simply double as a mobile phone, it actually is one - one that you just happen to be able to wear!
The dress actually "rings" on receipt of an incoming call and an LBD wearer picks up a call by raising the left-hand to the ear. As long as the hand is held aloft the call continues and when it is over the conversation is terminated by the user simply letting the hand fall back to the side. So, with this Little Black Dress it is de rigeur that the wearer be a poseur in more ways than one.
CuteCircuit says M-Dress wearers can assign different ringtones to different contact numbers so they'll know who is calling.
The present iteration of the LBD will be able only to call a couple of pre-programmed numbers, but as Francesca Rosella, the designer of the M-Dress and a CuteCircuit spokeswoman points out, either or both of these could be to a mobile operator so it may be possible to place calls to any other mobile number anywhere, albeit via a fairly cumbersome and no doubt fairly costly process.
Of course the $64,000 question is whether or not there will be many (or any) buyers for what is sure to be a pretty pricey novelty? Well, Francesca Rosella says she came up with the idea for the wearable phone (which was designed in collaboration with an one Ryan Getz, an anthropologist) because “I was always looking for my cellphone at the bottom of my purse and not reaching it in time to take the call.” Given that, it just might take off.
CuteCircuit is aware that wearers of the high-tech LBD might draw attention to themselves by being seen to strike a pose and then talk to one of their sleeves. However, as Ms. Rosella points out, wearing the M-Dress "doesn’t make you look completely crazy like the Bluetooth-earpiece people. OK, so you don’t have anything in your hand, but you at least look like you might be holding a phone.”
And it is true that we have got used to those millions of people who wander around seemingly talking to themselves and now know that only some of them are barking mad.
CuteCircuit says the GSM LBD "is not meant to be worn every day. It's a dress for special occasions." Certainly M-Dress wearers will be hard pressed to lose their mobile phone, and, if they do, probably the less about it said the better.
The M-Dress goes on sale, initially in in October at Selfridge's department store in London's Oxford Street and will be more widely available "in early 2011." However, the price of the garment is yet to be disclosed.
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