Tory Burch is the latest to toss her hat in the wearable tech ring, designing an accessories collection that's compatible with Fitbit Flex, the wireless activity and sleep tracker. This collaboration has been a long time coming — we first saw sketches of the tech-friendly jewelry back in January — and it's pretty exciting to see a designer bring her taste level to a product category that's notorious for being less than pretty.
Which is why it's a bummer that the pieces in Tory Burch for Fitbit are kind of underwhelming.
The full collection includes three designs: A brass bracelet and necklace, both of which feature hinged boxes into which you pop the little Fitbit hardware, and some adjustable, printed bracelets made of silicone that can also hold the device. The silicone bands are fine. They're not terribly different in their look from other rubbery fitness trackers.
The brass jewelry, on the other hand, fails at its one task: Marrying good design and good technology in a way that feels seamless. To Burch's credit, the Fitbit isn't the smallest piece of hardware in the world, so the bracelet and necklace had to be large enough to conceal it. The bracelet is pretty cute, except for the fact that the black plastic of the Fitbit is completely visible through the fretwork, creating a weird aesthetic dissonance.
Part of the problem is that the quality of the products isn't much better than that of the costume jewelry you'd find in Forever 21. The yellow-gold hue of the brass just looks, well, cheap. This would be fine, except for the fact that the bracelet costs $195 and the pendant necklace $175 — and that's excluding the Fitbit, which is another $99.95.
Since Withings announced the release of an activity tracker that takes the form of a gorgeous, sleek analog watch, Burch's Fitbit jewelry isn't exactly pushing the cause forward in terms of aesthetics. In the wearable-tech-for-women sector, Ringly's Bluetooth-enabled cocktail ring also married the needs of the internal technology and external aesthetics better than Burch's offering does.
In these early days of wearable tech, any solution for fitting hardware into jewelry is a good one. The more designers get involved in the tech world, the better they'll understand how exactly their products can and should work with hardware, and the better they'll become. So we're not out to hate too heavily on Tory Burch's stab at designing for tech. We'd just like to see version 2.0.