Photo credit: Beats by Dre
Take a stroll into your nearest electronics store and you’ll be sure to find a ton of options that fit your steeze like sleek iPhone 7 cases and portable chargers in a variety of colorways. There’s nothing aesthetically fitting that you can’t find—if you’re a guy of course. This disappointing reality hit me like a ton of bricks when I traveled the seven seas in search for a pair of wireless over-the-ear headphones that are feminine, stylish and functional. All I could find were bulky renditions in dark shades that were too large or too heavy for a style-conscious young woman on the go. After wandering through the aisles of Best Buy, B&H, P.C. Richard, and Target’s tech section I realized that finding the complete opposite is much harder than I thought…and than it should be.
Caught in a sea of devices that made me resemble the alien emoji, I decided to visit a department store and settle with a pair of simple wire earphones for the moment. By then, I was exhausted as hell but was determined to find something. Luckily, I spotted a chic white pair with bubblegum pink details by Sony, which hung from a wall of earphones in stark colors (shouts to god). I grabbed it quickly and headed for the cash register but despite that brief feeling of victory though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the tech selection for women is so slim.
If there were more fashion savvy women involved in the design process of tech accessories we wouldn’t have bulky options to choose from. ☹️
— Bambie (@Ambernofetari) April 12, 2017
Contemporary fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff recently touched on this subject in a BOF article, titled The Fashion Tech Revolution Needs More Women, where she discussed how important it is for millenial women to be active in the building and designing of technology for other women. The thought was sparked after a female shopper expressed her disdain for the mirror in one of Minkoff’s interactive dressing rooms which was engineered by a team of men:
“When it came time to design our first store, we spent months figuring out how to use technology to enhance the in-store experience and deployed, among other innovations, interactive digital dressing room mirrors that customers can use to seamlessly request specific items and sizes, or call a sales assistant. But our state-of-the-art dressing rooms made her look terrible and our developers didn’t even notice, because there wasn’t a single woman working on the engineering team. As someone who starts my design process with my customer in mind, this feedback hit hard. In an instant, I realized that in order to design a technology experience that resonated with our audience, it was essential that our audience be part of the process.” – Rebecca Minkoff
The article also states that less than 25 percent of women are in tech. That means if things don’t change, women will continue to be subjected to devices that are fit for Lebron James. Imagine his wife, Savannah, wearing a pair of headphones that were designed specifically for his lifestyle and stature. GIRLLLL, issa nah.
Photo credit: Apple Music
Fortunately, a company like Beats by Dre, for example, seems to care about their female customers with products that come in universally flattering designs, packaging and color options (like gold and rose gold). They even go the extra mile to show that we matter by depicting women using their devices in every day settings in advertising. On the other hand, competitor companies only show women using their tech devices in situations such as hitting the recording studio because in case you didn’t know, we are all members of Fifth Harmony.
Long story short, there def needs to be more stylish tech options for us because we play an active part in using and promoting it just as much as men. Lame phone cases that read “Live. Love. Laugh” and big neon laptop cases aren’t enough. We need comfortable fit, functionality, fashion-forward design and most of all, women helping to implement these creations. Minkoff summed it up best in the article when she said,
“Women should be the creators, not just the consumers, of our increasingly digital future.”