As tech companies go, Apple is already sexy as hell, touting a design-focused ethos and high-quality materials (and the prices that go along with them). Fashion already LOVES the brand; try finding a design studio or editorial office without a mac. But, recently evidence has mounted that they have something up their high-end sleeves. They have built the equivalent of an in-house "glam squad" with recent hires culled from fashion's leaders. Pay attention kids, fashion and tech are about to get it on hot and heavy.
Companies on both sides have tried to arrange the awkward marriage of fashion and tech. "Change" and "newness" are the driving force behind both industries, but unfortunately the combo rarely pans out. Remember HP and Vivienne Tam's butterfly mini-laptops... pardon me, digital clutches? Yeah, that happened. And now there are the early starters in wearable tech who aren't fairing too well either. Samsung's Galaxy Gear smart watch is struggling to define itself as "stylish" and Google Glass wearers - before the product has even officially launched - already have a pejorative nickname: glassholes. Apple, on the other hand, has what it takes to pull off holy matrimony rather than the corporate equivalent of a shotgun wedding and I think they're just about ready to send out save-the-dates.
J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler has been on Apple's board since 1999, so while his presence is nothing new, he is surely playing a role in helping the company navigate it's relationship with fashion. Heads first turned when Apple snagged Saint Laurent Paris CEO Paul Deneve back in July for "special projects." His history includes stints at luxury powerhouses like Courreges, Nina Ricci and Lanvin, but it wasn't time to jump to conclusions. He'd worked in sales and marketing at Apple Europe in the 90s and the company has a tradition of in-family promotion/hiring. It was this past October that things got really interesting. Apple snatched Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts. Under Ahrendts, Burberry rolled out several successful, innovative retail concepts (the most popular being the integration of e-commerce and digital entertainment into Burberry's Regent Street flagship). So, there is always the possibility that Tim Cook thinks the Genius Bar is passé and has brought on his new SVP of Retail to shake up the Apple shopping experience. But it's highly unlikely that a powerhouse like Ahrendts took a step down in title for any opportunity less than earth shattering. What could it be? A product (iGlasses or an iWatch)? An entire Apple fashion/tech label? Whatever it may be, the evidence is mounting that something stylish is about to come out of Cupertino. - Court Williams