Designers invade mobile phone market to open new front in fashion wars

Italians lead the bid to wrest a slice of lucrative market and expect some of the world's top models to lead the campaign. Susie Mesure reports

We've squirted the scents, worn the watches and hankered after the handbags. Now designers want to add mobile phones to the 2008 list of fashion must-haves with a series of launches to cash in on a multimillion-pound market.

Dior and Swarovski will be the latest luxury giants to unveil handsets next year, while Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer is expected to be the first timepiece maker to release one early next summer.

Demand for the Apple iPhone, a Christmas favourite for generous gift-givers, is proof of the growing appetite for stylish handsets. Experts predict that in the next three years non-traditional brands, including fashion designers, will grab 20 per cent of the global market, selling around 200 million handsets a year.

Andrew Harrison, UK chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, said his customers were increasingly buying more than one handset, with around a fifth owning two or more. "These handsets have different uses: business, going out or even special occasions. We expect this trend to continue." he added.

So far Italian fashion houses have been the quickest to cash in on this trend, with Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Armani all teaming up with manufacturers to design phones that scream form over function.

Despite steep initial price tags, such phones are proving popular. Prada has sold around 500,000 of its LG phone since its launch last spring, while D&G's limited edition gold MotoRAZR V3i phone for Motorola, which cost around 275, clocked up sales of $256m (128m) in 12 months, or around 465,000 phones.

And it isn't just the high-end fashion houses that have spotted the potential for phone collaborations. Ted Baker, the high street retailer, the denim brand Levi's, the Italian luggage maker Mandarina Duck and even the car company Porsche all launched handsets in time for Christmas.

Fashion and the mobile phone industry first collided two years ago when Motorola's bright pink V3 clamshell was a Christmas bestseller. Other hits since then have included Cath Kidston's designs for Nokia and Anna Sui's for Samsung. Analysts believe fashion and mobiles make perfect bedfellows because with a new product every three months, the handset industry is one of the few able to keep pace with the world of fashion.

DESIGNER PHONES

Julien Macdonald for Sony Ericsson

The UK designer vamped up the existing K510i with a splash of exotic floral colour from his 2007 spring/summer collection

Cath Kidston for Nokia

Two handsets decorated with Cath Kidston's vintage-inspired floral prints flew out of Carphone Warehouse stores last summer

Anna Sui, Samsung

Hot on the heels of Von Furstenberg's design came one from US designer Anna Sui, complete with carrying case, phone charm, screensaver and lipgloss

Diane von Furstenberg, Samsung

The queen of wrap frocks may like another go at phone design. Her couture-tech print was not the most popular the industry has ever seen

Jasper Morrison, Samsung

Yet another tie-up from the Korean company, this time with UK designer Jasper Morrison. His sleek design was simple but effective

Armani, Agyness Deyn

Giorgio Armani showed he meant business with his phone for Samsung by getting the year's hottest model, Agyness Deyn, to appear in his ad campaign

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Sport
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Cover Supervisor

    £75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

    Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam