Sci Fi Style: Forget Retro, Futuristic Designs are In

The future is here, and it has leapt from the runways to the streets in all its sleek, technologically advanced glory. Visionary, utilitarian clothing appears to be direction of fashion, and those tech gurus among us are clapping our hands in glee at new toys masquerading as accessories. But is the functional trend coming at the expense of artistic ingenuity?

From Blade Runner to Star Trek, science fiction informs us that futuristic garb eliminates extraneous frills, favors streamlined design, and, above all, combines form with function. Surprisingly, the genre wasn't too far off the mark.

For Spring 2014, many designers took a step back from voluminous, fluffy silhouettes, instead concentrating on straight, angular lines, and more form-fitting designs. Designers including Calvin Klein and Jason Wu showcased pared-down pieces, highlighting sharp accents including metal belts and unfussy, tailored silhouettes on the runway.

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To that end, the true star of the outfit is rapidly becoming the techy gear. Angular watches that look merely ornamental double as a smartphone, a pair of rimless glasses is in fact a command-controlled computer, and that jewel-toned clutch? It's actually an iPhone charger by Everpurse, delighting smartphone addicts everywhere by offering a quick solution to a dead battery.

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Sony and Samsung are just two of the many companies who launched smart watches this September, and sales are expected to increase drastically over the next several years, with Business Insider saying they "forecast 91.6 million smartwatch units sold globally in 2018". Google Glass is next, and has been test driven by a few lucky consumers, but the projected release date isn't until 2014. Still, the eyeglass-computer hybrid with Siri-like functions has been well publicized already, and worn by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Kunal Nayyar. And we can't leave out Lady Gaga's latest gravity-defying ensemble. A flying dress is truly a new level of technology-infused fashion.

The International Business Times suggests that employee crossover between technology and fashion companies hints at the imminent hybridization. The addition of Paul Deneve, former CEO of Saint Laurent, and Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberry, to Apple are one such example of the phenomenon. And the first global symposium on the intersection of fashion and technology, "Decoded Fashion," took place in Milan this October, spearheaded by the editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue.

In our efficiency-driven culture, it makes perfect sense that instead of constantly decreasing the size of technological gadgets, someone would finally spark the trend to incorporate devices into our outfits. But does this mean the end of fashion as we know it? Any style maven worth her salt will tell you that particularly in the realm of haute couture, fashion is an art form which often eschews utility in favor of what looks beautiful or makes a statement. With the advent of clothing and accessories meant to increase efficiency, there may be a possibility for such uneconomical styles to be rendered obsolete.

For now, the fashion world seems to be largely retaining its creativity and innovation despite the influx of tech accessories. Nevertheless, designers will continue to face the predicament of function versus aesthetics as technology and practicality becomes a more prevalent consideration in fashion.