How Apple Became the Cool Girls’ Go-to Tech Brand

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"I don't do fashion. I am fashion." – Coco Chanel

Carrie Bradshaw technology and fashion
Photo: Courtesy of HBO

If there’s someone who took Gabriel Chanel‘s words to heart, it’s got to be Apple. No, Apple has absolutely nothing to do with fashion. Yet, the tech giant is (somehow) always en vogue.  

Stereotypically speaking, you wouldn’t find the tech geeks and the fashion snobs eating at the same table. How then did Apple not only manage to grab a seat at the cool kids’ table, but also get them to do its homework? How did Apple bridge the gap between the two seemingly unconnected technology and fashion realms? 

Bottega and Chanelclad fashion people snapping away on the latest half-bitten Apple logo’d device is nothing out of the ordinary. It is, however, interesting to see how the otherwise uptight fashion industry has adapted to include the tech mammoth into its designs. Some of the most covetable fashion logos embossed on the iPhone, iPad, and even AirPod cases are not uncommon. But did you know that some fashion brands actually redesigned their pocket sizes to accommodate the bigger-sized iPhones when they were first released?

The question remains: How did a Silicon Valley behemoth manage to wriggle itself right in the center of the creative industry?

Elle Woods Macbook Technology and Fashion
Photo: Courtesy of MGM Films

The answer is quite simple. It can, in fact, be summed up in two words: product placement. Long before the advent of smartphones, Apple was smart enough to secure what can only be called absolutely brilliant product placements on-screen. Sure, functionality and aesthetics make a huge part of a consumer’s decision-making process – both of which Apple excels in. Although we might not realize it consciously, choosing a device – especially a smartphone – is largely influenced by how it embodies our personality, and whether or not it aligns with the way we see ourselves. That is exactly where Apple’s intelligent on-screen product placements come into play.

 

Miranda Priestly technolgy and fashion
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Centuries

What do Carrie Bradshaw, Elle Woods, Miranda Priestly, and Emily Cooper have in common? Apart from being fictional characters, they are all strong, powerful, fashionable women who use (surprise, surprise) Apple products. No matter how much we celebrate our individuality, the human brain naturally tries to find common ground with the characters we watch on-screen.

The formula is simple. Remember when the Fendi ‘Baguette‘ craze skyrocketed after Sarah Jessica Parker wore it on-screen? It may have taken Apple a bit longer, but over the years, the tech brand has successfully penetrated our psyche. Fashion is a lifestyle. Fashionable people dine at certain restaurants, drive certain cars, and wear certain brands. And what tech brand do people in the creative industry swear by? Apple, of course. Consider this: Emily Cooper probably grew up watching Carrie Bradshaw, Elle Woods, and Miranda Priestly on-screen and instantly recognized Apple as the brand that best mirrors her personality. It was a no-brainer. The Emily here being us, of course. 

Emily in Paris technology and fashion
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Today, not only is Apple quite literally always in fashion, but it also holds the distinct power of influencing trends. When Apple rolled out the rose gold iPhone, the metallic pink hue was suddenly everywhere – even rose gold cakes became a thing. Such was the popularity of the shade that ‘Rose Quartz’ was announced Pantone’s ‘Color of the Year’ in 2016.

More recently, the fashion industry has adapted to accommodate Apple’s most covetable accessory – AirPods. Detachable AirPod cases that can be hooked onto your handbag or belts are increasingly popular. 

Apart from building an emotional connection with its gadgets, Apple has also done its bit to please the fashion crowd. In 2014, the tech brand held an event at the infamous (now folded) Parisian boutique, Colette, to introduce the Apple Watch. Apple’s power move of collaborating with Hermès on the watch quite literally bound technology and fashion together, making tech accessories go from geek to chic in an instant.

Needless to say, Apple has succeeded in creating a luxe appeal for its products. The question remains… will Apple continue to wear the crown of the most fashionable tech brand of our times?

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