To read this content please select one of the options below:

Addressing the trade-off between style and practicality in wearable computing

Stephen Fox (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, Finland)

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology

ISSN: 0955-6222

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




Potential for practical stylish combination of micro-electronics and computational functionalities into apparel has been recognized for many years. Yet, wearable computing is often characterized by distinctive style or by utilitarian practicality. The purpose of this paper is to investigate what actions can be taken to address the style vs practicality trade-off in wearable computing.


Action research with luxury apparel company, comprising interviews, facility views, literature reviews, technology analyses, production, and evaluation of prototypes.


Trade-off between style and practicality is likely to continue to be intractable for luxury garments. This is because the inclusion of micro-electronics into garments can compromise comfort and introduce onerous regulatory issues.

Practical implications

There is more scope for practical stylish wearable computing with accessory apparel such as bags. This is because comfort is less likely to be compromised by micro-electronics, and requirements for charging can be less reliant on human intervention.


The originality of this paper is that reports findings from a wearable computing action research case study that involved active participation of a luxury apparel company. The value of this paper is that it covers both technological factors and luxury considerations.



Fox, S. (2014), "Addressing the trade-off between style and practicality in wearable computing", International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 480-485.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles