Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Samsung Enlists Designer to Give It Some Flair

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Samsung Enlists Designer to Give It Some Flair

Article excerpt

Samsung hopes its partnership with the fashion designer Alexander Wang to promote the Galaxy Note II will underscore its message that "technology empowers creativity," a spokeswoman said.

The fashion designer Alexander Wang is joining forces with Samsung to create a new print based on doodles, sketches and photographs that are being contributed via smartphone by some of the top names in fashion.

Mr. Wang's collaborators will participate electronically, sending ideas on Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphones, as inspiration for a one-of-a-kind print that will be used on a limited collection bag. Proceeds from sales of the bag will be donated to a New York art charity for children.

For Mr. Wang, who recently became the creative director of Balenciaga, the French fashion house, becoming a partner with Samsung "represents a new way that technology and style can come together," he said in an interview.

In a video about two minutes long, called "Be Creative," which was released Thursday in tandem with the opening of New York Fashion Week, Mr. Wang uses his Galaxy phone to capture ideas on the way from his apartment to his design studio, and then to configure the space where his collection will be shown.

Samsung, which is taking a viral approach and showing the video only on social media, hopes the partnership with Mr. Wang will underscore its message that "technology empowers creativity," said Christine Cho, director of global marketing for Samsung Electronics, from its headquarters in Seoul.

"We thought Alexander Wang would be able to show that," she said, "because of his passion for experimentation and his on-the-go lifestyle."

The electronics giant is walking in the footsteps of companies in other industries, like automakers that have allied with luxury- level fashion to distinguish themselves from rivals. To gain notice for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, General Motors, for example, worked with the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, who created an apparel and accessories collection celebrating the car's redesign.

"Fashion can be a good way to humanize technology," said Sabrina Horn, head of Horn Group, a digital communications agency, who noted that technology companies "often forget to strike that emotional connection with consumers."

For Samsung, establishing a distinctive identity is critical as it battles its biggest rival, Apple, in the mobile devices market. Last year, Samsung shipped 396.5 million mobile phones worldwide, according to a report from Strategy Analytics, a research firm in Boston. Smartphones earn the most revenue for Samsung, which had revenue of 201.1 trillion won, or about $183.5 billion last year. Samsung also sells products like flat screens, chips and microprocessors.

Samsung did not divulge how much it was spending on its partnership with Mr. Wang, but over all, the company spent nearly $212 million on advertising in the first nine months of 2012, according to figures provided by Kantar Media, a unit of WPP. …

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