Diversification in business is meant to reduce risk, and some luxury designer labels go to great lengths to take advantage of that theory. Most infamous may be Chanel; from fashion and lifestyle, to sports equipment, to guitars, Chanel has dipped its toes into many industries. While it may be amusing to see all the things Karl Lagerfeld is willing to brand with his interlocking-Cs, his multiple forays realistically boast more style than expertise. Labels are forgoing specialization for ubiquity, and while it is possible for a company to acquire expert knowledge through partnerships, the truth remains: the knowledge is not innate.
Dolce & Gabbana has also been trying its hand at diversifying product lines. For Fall/Winter 2015, the label released ornately embellished $7000 headphones, decked out in materials like Swarovski crystals, pearls, nappa leather and fur. Stylish, indeed - but functional? I decided to share the product page for a pair of D&G headphones with a good friend of mine who is a techie (he's also the one who introduced me to video game fashion) to see how he would react. He acknowledged the visual appeal of the headphones, but as I thought, he quickly wanted to know some specifications. D&G's product description is clearly written with the fashion buyer in mind, focusing on aesthetic offerings rather than technical capabilities. Those looking to learn more about the technology behind the fashion will be hard-pressed to find that information. A bit of Googling revealed nothing.
Of course, the type of people who are going to buy $7000 D&G headphones are probably not too concerned with specifications; D&G has made no mistake in understanding and catering to its customers. I simply find it curious that if someone happens to be interested in how well the headphones perform, that information is seemingly no where to be found. Fashion techies do exist - and D&G is failing to give that niche part of the market the full picture.
A fashion x technology collaboration done with more professional grace is the Apple Watch and Hermès collection, released earlier this year. Two massive powerhouses in their respective industries, coming together to produce an accessory meant to appeal to both the techies and the fashionistas. The product page gives fair weight to explaining the technical and design clout of the watches, making this collaboration a clean and equal partnership.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Two heads are better than one. We all know the exciting possibilities made available from the dynamics of two specialists joining hands. Collaboration with those from diverse backgrounds provides an opportunity to explore beyond one's own boundaries into uncharted territory, but the greatest beauty comes when all parties are given the chance to shine.
Image Source: MegaDeluxe, Yucatan, Engadget