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Why Steve Jobs Chose This Designer Turtleneck | Culture

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No wonder Issey Miyake was Steve Jobs’ favorite designer.

The man behind Jobs’ plainclothes, who died on August 5 at the age of 84, was a pioneer in every way, being the first foreign designer to be unveiled at Paris Fashion Week (April 1974). To work with artists and “dressed comfortably” advocates long before the term “dressed comfortably” existed. But what made Miyake stand out was his understanding and appreciation of technology and how it can be harnessed from an aesthetic perspective to create new and compelling utilities.

Before wearables, before connected jackets, before 3D printed sneakers and laser cut laces, there was Miyake pushing the boundaries of material innovation, connecting the past with the future. He was fashion tech’s first champion.

It all started in 1988 with Mr. Miyake’s research into heat presses, starting with fabric two to three times the size of a normal fabric, pressed between two sheets of paper, and fed to an industrial machine to form garments. was a way to create It became knife-edge pleats, garments that never wrinkled, flattened, or required complicated fastenings. It formed its own line known as the wear version of Homme Plisse. It’s a practical and weirdly fun redesign of Mario Fortuny’s classic Greek drapes.

The next experiment was to feed a continuous thread into an industrial knitting machine to create a piece of fabric with stitches that trace the shapes of various garments. manufacturing detritus. Known as A-POC (One Piece of Cloth), the collection was launched in his 1997 decades before ‘zero waste’ became the clear call of the responsible fashion movement.

And then there was 132 5, which Miyaki debuted in 2010 (he stepped away from his day-to-day responsibilities but remained involved with his brand). The octopus creation consisted of flat-packed items with intricate origami folds that opened to create three-dimensional pieces on the body. The collection was developed in collaboration with Miyaki’s in-house R&D team, known as his Reality Lab, founded in 2007. (This name is not to be confused with his Reality Labs division of Meta, possibly its predecessor, but was later used for retail stores in Tokyo as well.)

Works from all these lines are now in museum collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They are extraordinary, soft sculptures that morph and move with the body, but what makes them singular is that they are not just beautiful objects, but solutions to everyday needs. (Miyake’s core value was the importance of ‘clothes for living’) . . and they worked that way.

This is where the black turtleneck comes into play. It was by no means Miyake’s most interesting piece of clothing. It may have been his most mundane. However, it embodies his founding philosophy and serves as a doorway for those not particularly interested in fashion to discover Miyake’s world. Jobs did just that.

Indeed, it is no coincidence that Jobs himself was introduced to Miyake through technology. Or so the late Apple founder told his biographer Walter Isaacson.

According to Isaacson’s book “Steve Jobs,” Jobs was fascinated by the uniform jackets Miyake created for Sony employees in 1981. Ripstop without lapels, he was made of nylon and included sleeves that could be unzipped to turn the jacket into a vest. Jobs liked it and what it meant (a business combination) so much that he asked Miyake to create a similar style for his Apple employees, Isaacson said.

Still, according to Isaacson’s book, the two men became friends, and Jobs often visited Miyake, eventually adopting Miyake’s clothing (a black mock turtleneck) as an important part of his uniform. By eliminating the unnecessary creases around the neck, this piece combines the lightness of a T-shirt or sweatshirt with the cool and minimal lines of a jacket.

Jobs, who wore them until his death in 2011, said in the book that Miyake made him “like a hundred.” (Isaacson wrote that he saw them piled up in Jobs’ closet, and the cover of the book features a portrait of Jobs in a black mock turtleneck.)

More than Levi’s 501 and New Balance shoes, the turtleneck became synonymous with Jobs’ blend of genius and focus. Concentrate on his work. This was the approach to clothing later adopted by supporters such as Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama. His ability to fuse even

As Ryan Tate wrote in Gawker, the turtleneck “helped make him the most famous CEO in the world.” Bloomberg’s Troy Patterson called it “a secular monk vestment.” It was so ingrained in her pop culture that Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos convinced the world of her own Jobs-like brilliance, even though the Miyake brand retired the style in 2011 after Jobs’ death. I tried to get it and later adopted it. (Reappeared as an updated version “Semi-dull T” in 2017)

It didn’t matter. At that point, the entire ethos of clothing changed. (ninjas, cat thieves, and those who want to blend in with the night). After that, it meant a paradigm shift.

However, without Mr. Miyake, it would not have been possible. Jobs was not the quintessential muse of fashion clichés. But more than the architects and artists drawn to Miyake’s clothes, he has become an ambassador to the designer’s history. Not just a tenuous inner sanctuary of design, but a truly popular piece of heritage that has helped shape the very nature of how we think. About clothes.

This article was originally published in The New York Times.

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