NEW YORK — For the uberhip, owning an iPod is so 2004. What’s hot now is dressing up the little darlings.
Accessorizing an iPod in a fashionable, customized (and protective) case wraps the inherent prestige of owning Apple’s portable music player in an entirely different layer of coolness, and this has engendered a cottage industry.
“The sheer number of fashion accessory companies that have developed products that are specific iPod cases is just stunning,” said Jeremy Horwitz, editor in chief of iPodLounge.com, an independent Web site devoted to the iPod community. Horwitz, who has reviewed roughly 200 iPod cases for the Web site, estimates that there are currently 40 to 50 companies making cases for iPods, with each offering from two to 15 variations.
Since 2001, Apple Computer has sold 10 million iPods. Earlier this month, the computer maker said first-quarter iPod sales surged 525 percent.
The momentous popularity of the iPod allows retailers, designers and suppliers who offer unique iPod cases to reap several benefits, such as garnering stronger margins on a full-priced accessory, bolstering its brand and solidifying its fashion credibility.
Case designs are currently available from fashion houses such as Gucci Group, Chanel, Burberry, Kate Spade, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. There’s also the unforgettable personal version from Karl Lagerfeld, which holds multiple iPods. A similar version of that iPod suitcase is available from Fendi for $1,500.
Consumers have such a selection of iPod cases that there is “one for everyone out there,” said Horwitz.
One of the more unique cases come from start-up designer Catherine Hopkinson, who makes $25- $30 iPod “cozies.” For Hopkinson, who rediscovered a love of sewing this past summer, making a case for her iPod was a natural evolution. “I’ve been sewing for a while,” she said in an interview. “Then I got an iPod, so I figured it needed clothes, too.”
The material for Hopkinson’s one-of-a-kind, customizable cozies are usually made of recycled jeans and other thrown-away apparel.
Hopkinson, who is a copy editor by trade, launched the Web site catherinespita.com/shop this past November to sell her iPod cozies, as well as cuff bracelets and shirts. Business has been better than expected, she said.Meanwhile, Apple’s announcement on Jan. 11 at the MacWorld Expo of its latest music player, the ultraslim and highly affordable iPod Shuffle, brings a new era to the dash for iPod accessories. Horwitz, who attended the event in San Francisco, said that besides the orange-accented sport case already available from Apple, there are only two iPod Shuffle case prototypes in the works from other companies.
Horwitz foresees the market for iPod Shuffle cases to be just as robust as it has been in the last year for iPod and iPod Mini cases. He expects to see “stripped-down versions” of existing case designs for the Shuffle.
Another prospective accessory market for the iPod Shuffle is jewelry. Horwitz pointed to the Web site iPodJewelry.com, which has created beaded add-ons, such as freshwater pearls, that can be directly attached to the Shuffle and its existing lanyard-like band, which users can put around their necks as a hands-free option to carry the device.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast