Apple’s 1986 Fashion Line Has Become Fashionable For The First Time

1986’s geekwear would fit into any Brooklyn bar today.

It’s easy to forget that Steve Jobs had a few bad ideas. For instance, after visiting Sony in the 1980s and admiring the zealous, uniformed staff, he pitched Apple’s own employees on adopting a mandatory look: a rip-stop nylon jacket, Survivorman-style with those unzippable sleeves that can make a vest. He was booed off the stage by his own staff.


Presumably, Apple’s 1986 clothing line–The Apple Collection–was an equally bad idea then (though as Jobs was gone from Apple by that year, he likely had nothing to do with it). It’s full of pop collars, sweat suits, and logo-adorned hats in every color of the Apple rainbow. I can only imagine how American Psycho this entire catalog felt at the time, right down to Apple-branded windsurfing equipment.

But while the Internet has had more than a few chuckles at The Apple Collection’s expense, Apple may have gotten the last laugh. Has anyone else noticed, a lot of this line would be considered haute today? Just about any piece could be worn in a sort of self-deprecating irony; these oversized sweatshirts epitomize ’80s throwback:

And these quirky, textured logo shirts? A fantastic artifact of the white-hot Memphis Group comeback. (Original Memphis Group designer Nathalie Du Pasquier just designed a line for American Apparel.)

One of the silliest projects Apple released 20 years ago is borderline iconic today! It just took a few decades–and the electronic fashion statement of a few hundred million iPods and iPhones–for us to catch on.

And as for Jobs’s attempt to introduce an Apple uniform: all wasn’t lost. The misstep introduced him to Sony’s designer, Issey Miyake, who would produce a few hundred black turtlenecks for Jobs to wear as his own, very memorable, personal uniform.

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[Hat tip: Dangerous Minds]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.