From Apple to California Raisins: 7 Brands’ Forays Into Fashion


As we discussed yesterday, nothing starts out perfect when it comes to product design — even if you’re Apple. One interesting recent move for the company was its hiring of Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, who, as Haydn Shaughnessy at Forbes suggested, might have less to do with the development of the iWatch than with Apple’s potential desire to expand into clothing. If Shaughnessy turns out to be correct, it won’t be the first time Apple branches out into fashion.

The Apple Collection,” which made its debut — in case the picture didn’t tip you off — in 1986, wasn’t half as popular as you’d think, coming from the company that today has the market cornered on sleek and stylish digital products. But to anyone who pays attention to streetwear blogs or fashion-minded Instagram accounts, or who spends their time shopping at vintage stores, Apple’s original foray into the world of fashion might not seem all that tacky.

The same goes for some of these other brands that put their logos on clothing.

Not content with just making cars for rich people, Porsche Design introduced their first pair of sunglasses, the P’8478, in 1978.

Yoko Ono was an early fan:

A little less high-end, but unforgettable nonetheless, Bud Light capitalized on the popular Bull Terrier mascot they debuted in a 1987 Super Bowl XXI ad, Spuds MacKenzie (who was actually a female dog), and put out these popular “Party Animal” T-shirts. Today you can sometimes spot them on good-looking people who either inherited them or dropped some serious change on eBay for an original.

In fact, it seems that Anheuser-Busch was running its own little fashion house, because it also manufactured these sweaters — proudly made with 100% pure synthetic Orlon!

If you grew up in the 1980s, you probably know about the California Raisins. These anthropomorphized dried grapes were everywhere during the decade, from their Christmas special to their line of little plastic toys. But what a lot of people don’t remember is that these talented little guys were originally created by the California Raisin Advisory Board, getting thousands of unsuspecting fans to wear the shirts and advertise raisins.


McDonald’s really loved snapback mesh hats — mostly given out as promotional items — that people seem to think are really awesome today.

Coca-Cola has also put out its fair share of hats.

One of the most interesting examples of brands moving into fashion is the Shinola company, which, from 1907 to 1960, made the shoe polish your grandparents used, but was probably best known for the colloquial English phrase, “You don’t know shit from Shinola.”

The bankrupt company was purchased recently, and has turned its attention to making designer watches out of Detroit’s historic Argonaut Building. Definitely one of the more interesting examples of a brand branching out — and in this case, evolving — into fashion