Techno-fashion – can it mix?

Maybe it’s because I’ve had the ‘fortune’ of working on several consumer electronic giants of late, but it seems all technology companies are desperate to sex up their image and get down with the (girl) kids by pushing the fashion theme hard. Prada does LG phones, Vivienne Tam is making HP netbooks, Mulberry does Apple laptop sleeves (ok Apple is slighlty cooler to begin with) and Lady Gaga is Creative Director of Polaroid. 

These – and those initiated by the designers themselves (see Gareth Pugh and Chantal Thomass’ iPod cases) are the good fashion-tech mixes.  Most tech brands seem to think that partnering with a ‘designer’ and painting an average product pink or sparkly will lure the fair sex into buying it – and to be fair, there are people out there who will (see Katie Price).

While I resent being marketed to this way, I have to say, I did actually think Dell’s collaboration with the nail polish brand OPI – letting you ‘match your laptop to your nails’ with a choice of laptops in the colour of 26 of OPI’s shades – was fun and has a slight kitschyness that appeals to me (also very Gaga/now).

I understand why technology companies want the kudos of collaborating with designers – and why impoverished fashion houses are desperate to get involved in such lucrative alliances – but worlds apart, these are partnerships which tend to sit uncomfortably and which take careful thought to execute well.  It’s no good getting someone with a technical/marketing background to approve your ‘fashion’ offering – just because he understands the machine’s inner workings.

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