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WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

Hermès & Apple Team Up for Next Gen of Apple Watch

By Glenn S. Demby, Esq.

The Apple Watch is getting a makeover for its one-year anniversary in the form of new fashion accessories the most spectacular of which will be designed by Hermès. The Apple Watch Hermès, which goes on sale in October, will have the same body and dimensions as before. But the ugly duckling face will be replaced by a fashion swan, namely three signature Hermès faces—the Clipper, Cape Code and Espace. The watch also features three classic Hermès straps in different colors and styles: the Single Tour (thin strap), Double Tour (strap that wraps twice around the wrist) and Cuff (wide leather bracelet).

The Apple Watch Hermès is pricier than a standard Apple Watch but cheaper than the classic Hermès analog with prices ranging from $1,100 to $1,500. Adding to the effect is the packaging: the watch comes in the traditional Hermès orange and black box.

Apple Makes Established Fashion Brands ‘Cool’

That a tech maker would look to a fashion house to make its electronic product more stylish is hardly new. What’s stunning about the Apple- Hermès collaboration is the sheer star power. “It’s a dream team pairing the heaviest of heavyweights,” says one fashion licensing executive. It also represents a big shift for both companies. “It’s interesting that a company like Apple which prides itself on technological innovation and taking on the establishment would turn to a venerable fashion house like Hermès to make its product more appealing,” according to the consultant.

The same dynamic applies to Hermès, only in reverse. Collaborating with Apple is a great way for Hermès to modernize its own stodgy, conservative image and infuse its brand with an element of “cool.” “Apple isn’t just any old tech company,” the consultant explains, “it’s an industry leader that luxury fashion labels can work with without debasing their brands.”

Burberry Gets in on the Act

So it’s hardly surprising that other established designers would look to Apple for their own infusion of “cool.” Thus, a week after the Apple-Hermès deal came down, Burberry launched a channel on Apple Inc.’s Apple Music service. An extension of the Acoustic platform Burberry introduced on YouTube and its own website in 2010, the new Burberry channel showcases emerging and established British artists like Lilla Vargen and Alison Moyet with feature performances, regular playlists and behind-the-scenes stories. The channel enables fans to track Burberry and communicate with each other via messaging, Facebook, Twitter and email.

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