Is an iPod the latest fashion accessory?

The new season’s fashion has just been launched in Myer and David Jones. Spring’s almost here and it looks like white is going to be the new black, with short dresses everywhere. I’m a guy so I couldn’t care less – the only reason I like looking at the catalogues is because Megan Gale is in them. But this picture in the David Jones one caught my eye.

And before you say anything, no, the girl isn’t the reason. Take a closer look. Do you notice anything slightly off about it? Any guesses? It’s the iPod. She looks like she’s quite happily selecting a song or maybe a show to watch. But how is she supposed to hear it? There are no headphones with the iPod. I imagine the reason’s because the wires would have got in the way of the picture, but it seems strange; I noticed it right away.

I know the page isn’t advertising an iPod; they don’t need to show anything but the clothes. But that’s my point. They’re using the iPod because of its recognition power; it’s stylish and projects just the right kind of image for young people. The iPod is so successful now that it’s really become as much a fashion accessory as a music player. I often see people with a Nano hanging from their belt or hip, headphones loose around their neck. I conceal mine when I take it out (I keep thinking it’ll be stolen), but it’s probably not that strange if you think about it; it adds a flash of colour just like any other accessory, and who knows what’s going to happen when the iPhone has been out for a while.

I think the first time it dawned on me just how much of a fashion symbol the iPod had become was when ProductM created the TuneBuckle. It was actually a good idea; a belt which fitted the Nano in its buckle. It was comfortable, fashionable and protected the Nano from damage much more than any of those cases people wear. Of course it was probably still a bit geeky for most people, but having a cute model wear it didn’t make it seem like that, somehow.

Now iPod accessories are everywhere and the iPod is so recognisable, it shouldn’t be surprising that companies would want to associate themselves with the brand. And probably 99% of people wouldn’t have noticed that in the picture. But the thing I’m wondering is if it’s really such a good thing. Obviously having the iPod appear more accessible sells more units for Apple, but do people really know what they’re buying? I’ve had people ask me where the CD goes, and a lot of people still don’t know what a podcast is; the iPod only seems to confuse that further. I guess I’m just not sure if people take the iPod so seriously when it’s on everyone’s belt and matches their shoes; it’s just another accessory, a part of everyday life that we take for granted.

It’s great that the iPod is stylish and convenient, but perhaps the next time we pick it up we should remember it’s a music player before anything else. Otherwise what’s next? The iWatch? Actually, that’s not such a bad idea…

One thought on “Is an iPod the latest fashion accessory?

  1. Hi Cj,
    Don’t you think it is just the whole status element? I agree it was a slick marketing technique to include it in the ad – it is a visual associated with youth. Score one point.

    But the whole plugging in to tune out bugs me. I prefer to fill a room with music, not my head. Cell phones, Iphones, Ipods, computers in eyeglasses are all very 1984 to me. A ploy to distract the masses so they won’t notice what is going on around them. Seems to me it’s working. 😉

    CJ: There’s definitely a status element to it, WC, but I think our fascination with new things has something to do with it as well. iPods are almost dispensable; people upgrade them every few years, even though the new model isn’t that different. That again makes me think people see them as a must-have item, rather than a really useful one… like a piece of clothing in fashion for a few seasons, before you change your wardrobe.

    I like to listen to music out loud, but I like the convenience of an iPod as well… some things I just like to listen to by myself. But certainly they can become a distraction. I wonder though, who’s to say the distracted masses aren’t secretly listening to podcasts lamenting the death of society, rather than to Britney Spears? Oh wait, same thing… 😀

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