What is the first thing that pops into your mind when I say fashionable technology? Is it the $200 smartwatch from Samsung? A pair of intelligent glasses from Google? An expensive piece of smart clothing handcrafted by your favorite designer? While these are quite apparently the obvious guesses, the integration of technology into fashion is far deeper than you might have imagined.

For a moment, let us try and understand how the 21st century tends to see fashion. It is not about living up to the current trend or following the industry standards. It is about going out of the norm to create something bold and impactful, something that would make the rest of the world look your way. It is about making an impression, it is about telling a story. It’s a little to do with what you think of yourself, and a lot more to do with what you want others to think of you. It is about using your external appearances as a means to convey your internal being as you wish to convey it to the people before you. Naturally, for a person so conscious of what others think of them, fashion isn’t limited merely to the clothes one wears. It’s about the entirety of their public image. What you do, where you go, how and when you make your mark upon the world, it’s all part of your fashion. Everything about you that is up for public display is part of your fashion. Given that this is indeed the 21st century, and technology consists of a huge chunk of what we do with our lives, it is only fair that the technology we use goes forward to say a whole lot about your sense of fashion.

Remember that little catchphrase that you had to include under every email and that went on to become a very popular internet etiquette after the release of the first iPhone in 2007? Yes, ‘Sent from my iPhone’ originally started out as an excuse for being brief in an online correspondence. Then, as Apple’s signature brand of smartphones gained further acceptance, it became a sort of humblebrag for the Internet’s elite. Soon enough, everybody started using it, whether or not the message was indeed sent from their iPhone or if they even owned an iPhone in the first place. And thus was born a brand new net etiquette.

If I were asked to mention one key example of how a popularly used piece of technology can be turned into a fashion statement, I would name the iPhone. An outstanding example of how to do branding really well, Apple’s range of premium smartphones has everything it needs to be a youthful sensation. A buffet of unique features, high-end hardware and software, access to a vast array of possibilities, groundbreaking security additions and very premium price to put icing on the cake. It is exactly the kind of thing you would expect the seventeen-year-old son of a corporate billionaire to fall for. And since we all would like nothing more than to be part of the 1% the rest of the populace is sure to follow. There is no doubt that the iPhone is indeed a magnificent device with features that extend well beyond its competitors, but next time you find yourself shopping for a smartphone at an Apple store, ask yourself the question: do you want to buy an iPhone because you actually need it, or just because you want to own it?

Let’s face it. Technology is no longer just a part of our lifestyle, it is the whole of it. Be it the fancy sports car that sits in your garage or the gigantic 4K television that adorns your living room, every single piece of technology that you own has got something to say about your taste and your standard of living. Are you cool enough to update your smartphone every year? Are you smart enough to wire your entire house for intelligent connectivity? For the typical urban elite, nothing matters more than to walk hand-in-hand with the current society, and technology is too big a part of it to ignore. Sure, there’s always people who don’t buy into the typical herd mentality, who don’t care about social acceptance as much as they do about being content with oneself. But we all know that isn’t a common trait.

Believe it or not, a huge percentage of the technology we own exists simply out of the need for social acceptance and showmanship than an actual need for the product. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just the way it is. By birth, human beings are social creatures. Deep-seated into our very mindset is the typical tribe mentality and the need to be accepted and acknowledged by the people around us. We can do that either by following the herd or standing out of it, but no matter what we do, it stems from a singular need to be recognized. When we buy ourselves a shiny new gadget from Amazon, our first instinct is to show it off within our own social circle. It’s not boastfulness so much as a need to be recognized by the people around us that drives us to measures like that. In 2016, technology is an undeniable part of our society and culture. It is inside everything that we do every single day of our lives. No doubt, it has found its way into the heart of our need for social acceptance. No doubt it is part of our fashion.