Speaking with Dezeen about his new range of glasses, renowned designer Marc Newson took some time out to throw some serious shade at Google Glass. Although Newson, whose diverse designs have spanned products, furniture, aircraft interiors, and fashion, feels that wearable technologies are the future, he is whole-heartedly against Google's idea of what that future will look like. "What Google have done thus far, I wouldn't be seen dead wearing. It looks pretty stupid."
"It's a little bit like that wonderful invention called the Segway."
Newson goes on to compare to another impressive piece of technology that failed to catch on: the Segway. "It's a little bit like that wonderful invention called the Segway. It’s such a fantastic piece of technology but you just look like a complete dick when you drive around on it ... That's where the bridge to the world of fashion really doesn't, or didn't, work. That's precisely the moment when I think the fashion world laughs at the world of industrial design, justifiably."
The designer believes the fashion and industrial design worlds can learn a lot from each other. "Frankly speaking, the design industry is really pathetic in terms of how it approaches manufacturing and how it brings things to market." Newson goes onto explain that product designers could benefit from fashion's efficiency in bringing designs to the masses with "extraordinary efficiency," while fashion should adopt industrial design's material technologies and processes. "I do feel there's an enormous territory that they both share, that they should both embrace, but I agree that there is this real trepidation on both sides to broach that ground."
Despite Newson's comments, the fashion industry has shown a great deal of interest in wearables and smart fabrics. Google Glass has featured in Vogue covershoots and also went behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week, and up-and-coming designers like Asher Levine have embraced all manner of sensors and fabrics. Tech companies, for their part, have also made moves towards fashion. Samsung's first smartwatch came not from its mobile phone division, but from a multi-disciplinary outfit that employs architects, designers, scientists, and other creatives side-by-side — a "think tank"-like setup that Google pioneered with its Creative Lab. Apple too appears to understand the importance of hiring people with a diverse range of skills. It notably appointed a pair of executives that formerly ran Burberry and Yves-Saint Laurent in the lead-up to an expected launch of its first wearable.