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Brief Published: 12 Sep 2014

Apple Watch: Fashion’s Validation

Apple Watch

The much-anticipated Apple Watch is finally here, and the fashion crowd has voiced its approval.

Wearable tech is having a fashion moment – it's surely no coincidence that Apple decided to launch the Apple Watch during New York Fashion Week. The iconic tech brand has been busy wooing the fashion crowd with an unprecedented number of fashion editors and bloggers invited to what has been billed as the launch of the decade. It is equally testament to the anticipation felt among fashion heavyweights that despite their hectic fashion-week schedules, many took the time to attend the unveiling.

The launch is proving that Apple chief executive Tim Cook’s decision to create an in-house fashion team – headed up by Angela Ahrendts, former chief executive of British label Burberry – is already paying off. The announcement this week that Apple has appointed one of the world’s most acclaimed designers, Australian-born Mark Newson, further cements its position as the tech brand to watch for design-led wearables. 

Available in two sizes with a choice of seven straps, including stainless steel, rubber and leather, the Apple Watch (note the dropping of the ‘i’ branding) has broad fashion appeal. The face will magically transform using the watch’s digital crown, allowing wearers to personalise the piece to create their own aesthetic, as well as offering a host of communication and fitness-monitoring features.

So was it love at first sight? Tim Blanks, editor-at-large of Style.com, argues: “Yes, it’s brutally functional, but it’s also seductively aesthetic.” Other fashion editors and influencers have taken to Instagram to show their love, with Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, Olivier Zahm, founder of Purple magazine and Sarah Andelman, creative director of influential Paris concept store Colette, all posting pictures of the watch, which goes on sale next year.

This is the second wearables launch of the week – see Tech’s Fashionable Tipping Point for more – ensuring that New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015 will be remembered as the season that tech got fashionable. And as the industry’s key influencers lend their approval, they are sure to drive this trend forward, creating a must-have buzz that will help propel wearables into the fashion mainstream.

See Product Design + Innovation and Tech & Fashion: The War on Talent for further reading on the emerging synergy between fashion and digital design.