In an age dominated by touch screens, handheld all-in-one devices that can do everything from locate a restaurant, make a reservation, call a cab to take you there, and provide suggestions on what to wear while inviting an elite group of friends to come and join you, an age where the cellular phone is actually the digital phone, there are still those items that make everyone’s inner Luddite breathe a little sigh of relief, objects that still hold some resemblance to familiar objects of our past, even if they serve a new purpose in the digital age.
We’re so enmeshed with our handheld devices that it’s no surprise we’ve been designing clothing and other wearable accessories to enable our mobile habit since the bag phone was invented (if the bag the phone came in counts, that is). Even early cellular phone belt clips—as unfashionable as they may seem now—indicated a larger and more noteworthy trend.
Now that we’ve had time to adjust our driving habits and our posture to our new digital necessities, it’s easier to see how everyday objects can be slightly altered in order to perform more seamlessly in our digital era.
Coats and hooded sweatshirts have borne the mark of the traveling music device for some time, providing special pockets for iPods and special loops to thread a headphone wire through. Everything from shoes to hats has been somehow altered to please the digitally enlightened, but the biggest improvement and one of the most necessary fashion accessories is easily the especially designed glove. Made to allow users to maneuver the nuanced mechanisms of a touch screen device without taking off their gloves, these are especially essential in cold climates, for outdoors enthusiasts, or people who work outside.
Hard as it may be to believe, in all of us and where it is so much an extension of ourselves that we design special so we can use them in any kind of weather.
2. Canvas “book” totes
Hey, the printed word may be on its death bed, but the tote or book bag has made its resurgence. Despite our ability to carry our digital lives around in the palm of our hands, we generally need more than a screen and a digital friend named Siri when we venture out into the world. Hence the popularity of the tote.
Totes are great because unlike purses or the dreaded “murse,” they are non-gender specific, open to all ages, and allow a sufficient amount of self-expression via screen printed designs. Add to this the simple fact that they are reasonably cheap, regardless of their source and the additional reality that in many major trend-setting cities plastic bags have become obsolete and made illegal, and you’ve got a recipe for necessity. Even in this age of ebooks people put their digital readers in canvas “book” bags.
3. Analog to Digital Recorder
So, about all those home videos Pops took of little Sarah being born, and about all those audio recordings of her first words, or her first performance in a school play, or movie she made about the family tree for a school project…
In not so many years from now, all of those memories will do what analog has always done—what George Lucas hoped it would do when he refused to allow the original, un-edited Star Wars to be issued on DVD—disintegrate. Once it does, no one will ever know who shot first, Han or Greedo, no one will know what Sarah’s voice really sounded like when she first screamed to life in a hospital room, but before all of those memories are lost, the analog to digital recorder is an absolute necessity for anyone who lived through the 80s and wants to remember it in 2020.