Iris Apfel is the new face of the WiseWear Socialite Collection, a health and safety monitor.

A 94-Year-Old Style Icon Is the New Face of a Wearable Fitness Tracker and Safety Device

A 94-Year-Old Style Icon Is the New Face of a Wearable Fitness Tracker and Safety Device

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
Jan. 13 2016 3:15 PM

A 94-Year-Old Style Icon Is the New Face of a Wearable Fitness Tracker and Safety Device

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Iris Apfel is the face of chic wearable tech bracelets from WiseWear that monitor health and can be tapped to send out an electronic distress signal to loved ones.

Courtesy of WiseWear

The eccentric 94-year-old style icon and geriatric starlet Iris Apfel is known for her love of accessories and can often be seen draped in colorful bangles and baubles, a more-the-merrier style that she pulls off with aplomb. So it’s perhaps no surprise that she is the face of a new luxury wearable health monitor and personal security device for WiseWear disguised as a chic bangle that marries fashion and technology.

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The bracelets, which start from $295, are made from brass and covered with precious metals.

Courtesy of WiseWear

“I have watched the ‘wearable’ market evolve,” Apfel says in a product brochure. “As I see more of these devices come to fruition, I see the focus on function with a missed mark on form.”

Developed by WiseWear CEO Jerry Wilmink and unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, the new Socialite Collection has an old-fashioned name, but it belongs to an emerging category of wearables known as fashtech that look more like jewelry than functional gear and play well with fashion-conscious wardrobes.

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Courtesy of WiseWear

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Courtesy of WiseWear

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Courtesy of WiseWear

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“While technology is measured by the ability to invent something new, something novel, fashion is measured by the ability to introduce a design that can remain forever classic,” Apfel says.

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Courtesy of WiseWear

The new luxury smart bangle comes in three styles, to be worn alone or stacked, Apfel-style, with other accessories. The company says the bracelets, which are made of brass and plated with precious metals such as gold and palladium, are durable and weather-resistant. Embedded with technology that allows it to communicate with an app on your smartphone, the braclet lets wearers do all the things you expect from a health tracker, such as monitoring steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. You can also receive mobile alerts for texts and emails.

And it includes a distress messaging function, so a wearer could send a text to a preapproved list of emergency contacts along with a geotagged location by discreetly tapping the bracelet.

“If a technology is going to strive to save my life,” Apfel says, “then at least take the next step to make me look good while doing it.”

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.