How Steve Jobs fell in love with the black turtleneck


The black turtleneck sweaters that Steve Jobs turned into a sartorial trademark were the by-product of a failed attempt to introduce a corporate dress code at Apple, it has been revealed.

Jobs told Walter Isaacson, his biographer, that his supply of Issey Miyake tops entered his wardrobe following a trip to Japan in the 1980s. During a tour of Sony's headquarters, Jobs was much taken by the fashionable Miyake-designed uniforms.

So he asked the designer to create a similar outfit for the staff at Apple.

"I came back [to the US] with some samples and told everyone it would great if we would all wear these vests," Jobs told Isaacson. "Oh man, did I get booed off the stage. Everybody hated the idea."

Despite the setback, Jobs became friends with Miyake. And when he decided, a few years later, that it would be convenient and stylish to adopt a signature outfit to wear to work each day, he approached the designer for help.

"I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me 100 of them," Jobs told Isaacson, showing off piles of the jumpers in his closet.

"I have enough to last for the rest of my life," he said.

Miyake's generosity hasn't always got the recognition it deserves, however. Following Jobs's death last week, a Minnesota clothing manufacturer called St Croix attempted to cash in by claiming to be the source of the turtlenecks.