When the Apple marketing team positioned Christy Turlington as the celebrity representative for the Apple Watch, they must have known that women like me would be obsessively scrutinizing the way it looked on her arm. Does it look odd, out-of-place or bulky? What is she wearing with it? Does it look good enough to wear every day? While it may be true that a woman as stunning as Turlington could make a burlap bag look seductive, the unprecedented role of the fashion model in promoting this device attempts to blur the line between technology and fashion in a bold way.
As a woman who both writes code for a living and has a wardrobe closet which is, literally, a small bedroom, I realize that I might be simultaneously an edge case and the ideal consumer for this device. I am unabashedly obsessed with both technology and style. I’ve been “wearing” technology for years now, almost neurotically tracking my heart rate, fitness, weight, micronutrients, sleep cycles and air quality. And yet, with the arrival of the Apple Watch, I anticipate an experience that still somehow seems new and pivotal in my never-endingly strained, yet undeniably inextricable relationship to tech.
It won’t even be the first smart watch on my arm. I have also been closely following devices such as the Pebble, the Moto 360, and various Garmin “running computers.” When the original Pebble came to market, I bought one for my husband, with the secret secondary purpose of being able to see it up close and try it on. It arrived, I put it on, and immediately knew I was not the person for whom this device was designed. It was huge on my small wrist and screamed “I’m wearing a calculator.” In the days that followed, my husband loved the Pebble, and I endured more than a little jealousy of his new toy and the never-ending parade of screen customizations and app integrations that were to come. Months later, I tried on a Moto 360 at a local retail store. It looked considerably better overall than the original Pebble, but it was still too big for my arm, and, more significantly, I didn’t want to have to hack an Android device to work with the suite of Apple products that I already interact with on a daily basis.
The merging of fashion and technology from distinct cultures seems, to me, inevitable in the near future. I don’t see technology and fashion as worlds at odds with each other. On the contrary, they are both markers of how humanity defines itself and of what we are capable. And while I may be waiting for my Armani stillsuit for yet a few more decades, I will be setting my alarm in the middle of the night this Friday to pre-order an Apple Watch.