Honor’s design team makes foray into phones for fashion

Honor’s new concept merges foldable smartphone technology with fashion through “phy-gital” design that that responds to its environment.

Phone and tech brand Honor has revealed its new fashion-led smartphone concept, with a built-in light sensor and gyroscope in the hardware that allows digital designs on its outer surface to respond to gravity and light.

Over 60% of Honors team works in research and development roles, focussing on imaging, display and design. The company operates across seven research and development centres worldwide, including an aesthetics centre in Paris and imaging centre in Japan.

Its newest concept – the Honor V Purse – looks to evolve the foldable smartphone into “a wearable, fashion-forward purse” that can be customised to work with any outfit, says a spokesperson from Honor’s design team. They describe it as “phy-gital fashion”, adding that it takes “a human centric approach to design”.

The V Purse designs – called “always-on-displays” (AODs) by Honor – appear on the phone’s exterior when folded and are designed to respond to gravity, light and colours, meaning they can interact with their environments thanks to a built-in light sensor and gyroscope.

The AODs are “like a chameleon which changes colour according to the user’s outfit and the “technical execution” of developing the interactive designs was a challenge”, says the design spokesperson. In one version a charm bracelet “moves and sways as the user walks”, they add.

Honor plans to continue developing this technology and create more interactive designs in the future.

The collection of AODs has been created by artists and designers who are part of Honor’s Talents Global Design Awards programme. According to the design spokesperson, the programme has attracted over 13,000 designers from more than 165 universities across the world in the past three years.

Contributing artists and designers include Burberry menswear design director Bram Van Diepen, contemporary artist Yunuene Esparza, dean of the China Academy of Art International College Yuan Youmin and interdisciplinary artist Xiao Hui Wang.

In terms of hardware, Honor aimed to make the form “as slim and lightweight as possible” by incorporating its “silicon-carbon battery technology”, which is also seen in electric vehicles, says Honor’s design spokesperson.

Users can also choose between a range of bag strap accessories to attach to the smartphone, from vegan leather to faux pearls. Materials for the straps are “thoughtfully and sustainably sourced”, according to Honor, although it was not able to confirm how or where from. The hinge on the phone means it can be carried like a normal bag once straps are attached.

Honor’s design spokesperson notes that modern consumers are trying to lead “fashionably sustainable lifestyles” and are “concerned about the effects of fast fashion on the environment”. They claim that the Honor V Purse is a response to this problem as one device can turn into “an infinite number of fashion accessories”, avoiding the need for multiple handbags. However, the phone relies on the visual cues of accessories and handbags without providing any practical storage solutions for other personal items.

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