Fashion Icon Iris Apfel, 94, Designs Fashionable Wearable Tech For WiseWear


WiseWear makes wearable technology smarter, sleeker and sexier. Unlike other wearable techs, WiseWear collections monitor fitness-related data and sends distress signals and exact locations to emergency contacts in case of trouble by tapping the bracelet three times.

The smart technology caught the eye of fashion icon Iris Apfel who, at 94 years of age, became the face and a co-designer of the brand. WiseWear bracelet's patented antenna technology is held at the bottom of the jewelry items. The top part is for aesthetics that can be swapped with other WiseWear designs depending on the mood and the occasion.

"There is a definite need for this because there are a lot of people who won't run around doing business looking like they are going to the gym," said Apfel.

The Inspiration

WiseWear founder and CEO Jerry Wilmink started the company after his grandfather died. One night in 2010, the old man fell and broke his hip. Unable to call his wife who was sleeping upstairs, the injury led to his untimely death.

In 2013, Wilmink launched a startup company called WiseWear to help prevent the same incident among seniors. The original idea involved a risk-measuring hearing aid but it never pulled through. What Wilmink ended up creating was groundbreaking.

Wilmink developed a Bluetooth-transmitting antenna system capable of sending signals through metal. This led to the creation of a technology concealed in beautifully crafted jewelry that people, particularly women, can actually wear on a daily basis.

Wilmink launched a line of WiseWear luxury bracelets called "Socialite" collection. Like other wearable techs, these beautiful bracelets measure fitness-related data and send update or alerts on your smartphone, but that's not all. These bracelets can also act as a lifeline, which send an alert to emergency contacts in case of an accident or trouble.

The WiseWear wearable techs are not limited to seniors. A young woman wearing a Socialite collection bracelet can send distress signals to emergency contacts if she senses she's in danger. Tapping the bracelet three times will send a distress signal and her exact location to friends and family. Unlike what happened to Wilmink's grandfather, if someone trips and can't get up, they can simply tap the bracelet three times and call for help.

WiseWear's antenna technology doesn't need screens to work, which conceals them from attackers while the fashionable designs make them easy on the eyes. Truly, WiseWear is the first brand that fused technology and fashion, said Wilmink.

The Collaboration

The 94-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel was inspired by the idea so much that she became the face of WiseWear. The fascination didn't stop there. Apfel also agreed to design new wearable tech pieces for WiseWear's future collections. Apfel loved the idea that the pieces don't just measure health-related data, they also enable a person to get in touch with emergency contacts if something goes wrong.

"That I think is fantastic, not only for older people but also a lot of young people. And the idea that you'll be able to do it in a handsome piece of jewelry is great," said Apfel who gave a hint that necklaces and belt buckles could be in future WiseWear collections.

Wearable technology is limited by aesthetics. For instance, despite its sleekness, people don't often match a red carpet gown or a tuxedo with an Apple Watch. WiseWear's collections beautifully provide a way to keep track of fitness data with a wearable technology worthy of a Valentino and a Versace.

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