Over the last few weeks, I’ve read more and more about new partnerships between technology companies and the fashion world.
In September, during London Fashion Week, Burberry worked with Apple and used the iPhone 5S to photograph its runway show.
Samsung has recently collaborated with hexa by kuho, Moschino and shoe designer Nicolas Kirkwood to create cases. Its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Note 3 even took to the catwalk in jewellery designer Dana Lorenz’s show at New York Fashion Week.
Technology and fashion are not the most obvious bedfellows. Traditionally fashion is aimed at women and technology at men. But things are changing, as more and more men and women are embracing the wonders of technology.
We’ll start seeing more and more of these collaborations. Brands like Apple, Samsung, Burberry and Moschino are hugely popular within their own fields. Working together enables them all to be associated with a new audience.
Working together enables them all to be associated with a new audience."
Phones are changing. It’s fair to say that in the past some manufacturers have followed the ‘black rectangle ethos’ leading to identikit phones. Now manufacturers realise people want to use desirable objects. I’ve written about why I think we should be embracing coloured phones and Apple and Nokia are at the forefront of this movement.
As the gulf between technology and fashion decreases and we start seeing more wearable gadgets like the Galaxy Gear and the rumoured Apple iWatch, fashionable technology will become even more mainstream.
But it’s really important that the type of collaboration is well judged. While the LG Prada phone sold a million plus units, the Samsung Giorgio Armani phone was less successful.
As Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey said: “This collaboration celebrates our relationship and shared foundation in design and craftsmanship. We have a mutual passion for creating beautiful products and unlocking emotive experiences through technology.”
If fashion brands don’t engage with them now they’ll lose out."
There’s another angle to the fashion/tech collaboration - engaging with audiences using technology.
Topshop and Google worked together on a fashion show streamed on YouTube, Google Plus and the Topshop website – it including model’s-eye views of proceedings.
Victoria Beckham revealed she would be working with Skype to reveal more about her fashion brand, while Diane von Furstenberg will be answering questions on Google Plus Hangouts On Air.
Young people use digital technology more and more, whether it’s Twitter, YouTube or Google Plus. This audience will potentially be buying high fashion in the future, and if fashion brands don’t engage with them now they’ll lose out.
Justin Cooke, former marketing chief at Topshop told The Guardian: “Fashion was quite slow to pick up on technology. Particularly in luxury, they were very scared of digital in the beginning – still a lot of people are.”
I’m no fashionista – I hate fashion magazines with a passion, but I would certainly be interested in watching a fashion show on YouTube, or downloading an app with unique content.
Hannah Bouckley is BT.com's Tech and Gadgets editor. Fashion scares her - particularly the high street on a Saturday morning.