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Is Apple a follower of fashion, or a trendsetter?

Lauren Dezenski | Nov. 5, 2013
We take a look at Apple's fashion credentials following Apple’s hiring of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts

Hamill said Ahrendts primarily used Burberry's internal structure to rework its external perception.

"Brand, when used properly, is one of the most powerful things for a team." Hamill said. "It's about who we are and what we stand for and using it to change the way a business works."

Hamill points to Ahrendts' experience with balancing democracy and premiummaking Burberry products available to those who want them, but also maintaining their exclusivity. This is done by selectively promoting products and maintaining a focused product portfolio, Hamill sayssomething easily continued at Apple.

"If they lose that premium look like the high fashion brands in the fashion industry, it'll lose their appeal," Hamill said.

Because she saw that turnaround at Burberry, Hamill said it's likely Ahrendts will be able to identify so-called warning signs at Apple, and most importantly, keep them from falling down a slippery slope.

It's easy to see parallels between Apple and the fashion industry. Just consider Apple's highly anticipated product launches and consistent design language across products, plus unique in-store experiences more akin to a high-end retail store than a tech vendor.

Colour works
Beyond that, the iPhone 5C's colour options, featuring a pale blue, electric yellow, and other vibrant primary colours, bear a striking similarity to the colour trends for Spring 2014. Further proof? Vogue did a spread on how to match your accessories with your new iPhone 5C.

But don't go calling Apple simply fashionable.

"I can see Steve Jobs turning in his grave at the thought of Apple being suggested as 'simply fashionable' and would suggest they are more consistent than we give them credit," David Jenkinson, creative director at brand design consultancy Elmwood, said in an email.

"Let's not forget, the colours are merely casing for the product. Interesting that the new iOS is complementary to the casing. So a more holistic view of a product that is now visual as technical hardware - software matching."

Jenkinson notes that though Apple will ultimately be judged for its tech performance in the long run, given that it's a technology company when push comes to shove. Though this slight shift emphasizing appearance could still end well for the Cupertino, California-based company.

"I actually think they're being smarter about the things that are easy to change," he said. "The plastic casing costs nothing to produce compared to the tech development. If they can get people to upgrade for stylistic reasons, it's a massive coup."

 

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