Curvy. Chromey. Colourful. Compact. Industrial designers have incorporated those traits into the sleek styling of wireless devices. In the process, they’ve transformed personal digital assistants (PDAs) from utilitarian tools to chic accessories that make a statement about the personalities of their owners.
Just flip through the pages of Vogue and GQ and you’ll find models now completing their designer ensembles with Palm Vs and Nokia cell phones.
It’s not just the beautiful people who carry these accoutrements close to their hearts. Visit any airport and you’ll find professionals with pagers, PDAs and cell phones peeking out of pockets.
“Because you carry them around all the time, these devices become very personal,” says John Cook, senior director of product marketing, consumer products group, for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palm Inc. “They say something about you. When you flip the antenna [of the Palm VII], you’re sending the signal, ‘I’m connected.'”
Nonetheless, according to Marie Essex, chair of the fashion design department at New York City’s Parsons School of Design, wireless accessories are not necessarily driving fashion designers’ thinking. Although designers use these tools themselves, they aren’t designing around them.
Yet, she says, “several years ago, licensing really took off, with designers’ names going on everything from braces to coffins, and technology won’t be any different. No doubt you’ll soon be able to get the Donna Karan PDA. Or you’ll buy a Gucci bag that will come complete with a matching phone.”