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[China-fashion]Accessories brand goes big on wearable technology - Lifestyle[Page:1]

While wearable technology companies have been eyeing the fashion world for a long time, fashion companies are now venturing into wearable technology.
US accessories brand Fossil, which recently opened its refurbished store in Oriental Place in Beijing, plans to launch its smart analog watch collection in the Chinese mainland this fall.
The collection comprises classic-looking watches that can also serve as sleep and fitness trackers.
Compared to technology-oriented bands, Fossil aims to differentiate itself with an emphasis on fashion, says Alisha Shroff, marketing director of Fossil Brand Asia Pacific.
"It will look like a watch, but have technology inside. It's a different angle ... Digital is where the future is headed and where we will invest heavily," she says.
Besides Fossil, the company also makes watches for brands like Michael Kors, Diesel, Adidas, Karl Lagerfeld and Burberry.
The company acquired American fitness and sleep monitor maker Misfit last year, giving a boost to its own smart technology development.
"By doing that (the acquisition), we were able to do it (technology development) much faster. It was a great beginning. Technology and digital is a big push for us," she says.
"We were always a fashion company, but now we are fashion with technology."
"Consumers are now smarter. They want more functions with their product. It's a huge opportunity," she adds.
Founded in 1984, Fossil has evolved from a watch brand into an integrated lifestyle label that also offers leather products, jewelry and bags.
Fossil has more than 400 stores worldwide, with 15 in China.
With the retail market in China seeing a sharp decline in recent months, Fossil is now exploring opportunities online, with both e-commerce sites and social media promotion, says Shroff.
"It's a challenging situation now," she says.
"Digital is a huge push for us. We are collaborating with Tmall, which is a great partner.
We are going in for more things online. It's something that is inevitable: online and mobile."
Fossil, which first came to China in 2008, is still in expansion mode in the country, says Shroff.
The US and Europe are the brand's largest markets while Asia is still growing.
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