Our favorite wearables are the ones that help users stay more connected to the physical world, not less. Ruby is an example of a wearable that does just that–for groups. And, it’s downright gorgeous. Roger Wood, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Orion, tells us more.
Orion is a mobile network that creates devices to merge fashion sensibility and group communications. We believe that people are at their very best when collaborating, working, and striving with others to create a special and beautiful experience or event.
Our accessories provide a thoughtfully designed answer to unwieldy group text messages, ugly dispatch radios and every other awkward way that people try to communicate simultaneously with a group. We aim to entirely re-imagine the way people think about and coordinate their messages.
Some occasions simply require you to look up, engage the world, and keep both hands free. [Editor’s note: More of this, please!] Burying one’s head in a smartphone screen, with both hands tapping away, is at the best distracting, and at worst, dangerous. Orion products are hands-free, no fuss devices that can truly keep you connected and in the active moment.
Tell us about Ruby.
We have two product lines currently: a casual line and an elegant line. Ruby is the name of our elegant line of accessories on the Orion network. Unlike an average smartphone, our devices are designed as contemporary fashion accessories infused with high-end design and luxurious materials. Each piece in the Fall / Winter 2015 Ruby Collection includes both precious and near-precious gems. Limited editions featuring rare materials will also be available–such as the Berlin in platinum metal with slate crystal and the Ruby Paris in gold metal with mimosa crystal.
What was the design inspiration for Ruby?
Ruby was inspired by modern architecture, and in particular, the work of Zaha Hadid and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I was moved by the Broad Museum at Michigan State University, which is considered among Ms. Hadid’s most iconic work. [Editor’s note: Check out this stunning building.] I dreamt of how a kaleidoscope of butterflies resting on the side of the museum might look, if I were to capture it in a design. Ruby is the result. And because of the heavy influence from modernist architecture, each Ruby style is named after cities rich in modernist architecture—Berlin, Paris, Chicago and Sydney. Future Ruby styles will also be named similarly.
What sets Ruby apart from other wearables?
Fashion is a form of communication. Fashion is a visual expression of personality. Every single choice we make in what adorns our bodies is an act of fashion and communication. With this in mind, a communications device that adorns one’s body should also communicate one’s attitude, personality and values. Wearing Ruby allows you to communicate fashion with those you can see, and ideas with those not in immediate proximity.
You talk about fashion and technology merging. What does the future of these industries look like?
The question now is not if their union will happen, but rather how quickly the two industries will become indistinguishable from one another. It won’t be much longer before no consumer technology company can compete effectively without design talent and sensibilities from the fashion world. Conversely, fashion companies need technology to develop product, streamline logistics and enhance the functionality of apparel, footwear and accessories.
What has been one of the most challenging parts of getting started? How did you overcome this and what did you learn?
The biggest challenge has been the manufacturing process and production timeline. We’re dealing with materials, like semi-precious stones and gems, that the technology industry hasn’t dealt with before. Finding the right materials for aesthetics, durability, and functionality and then making sure they are all handled and used correctly during the production process has been challenging. But as we’re all getting more familiar with producing accessories with technology at the core, the process has gotten smoother.
Where can we buy Ruby and what is the cost?
Ruby will be available for purchase this fall on our website starting at $400.
What can we expect next from Orion?
Lots of exciting developments! Like we just stated, Ruby will be available to purchase this fall, and we have a few other announcements we’re excited to share with you all in the coming months.
To learn more about Ruby, watch the video below and check out the Ruby website.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables. You look nice today!