Chris Burch Takes on Intersection of Fashion and Technology

Chris Burch wrote a short think piece for Engadget on the synergistic relationship of fashion and technology. For most people, the world of fashion and the world of tech are somewhat antipodean to each other, fashion being a creative and artistic outlet while tech is a “right-brained” pursuit. However, Burch shows how the two are really intertwined with some fascinating historical and contemporary example.


According to Burch, many functional items end up becoming fashion accessories, and one key example is the rise in popularity of personal stereos, starting with the boombox in the late 70s and early 80s. The boombox begat the Walkman, which begat the iPod. Over time, these inventions began to take on a cultural significance and built up social capital as fashion despite also being technological innovations.


Sometimes instead of technology becoming fashion, the relationship is reversed and fashion propels technology. For example, what if there is problem in search of a solution and fashion turns out to be the answer? A recent example would be Frontline gloves, designed for firefighters to communicate with each other in dangerous situations. It’s likely that there could be other approaches to dealing with the need that this product meets, but applying fashion to technology turned a problem into one of the hottest start-ups in recent years.


  1. Christopher Burch, better known as Chris Burch, is the CEO and founder of Burch Creative Capital. Originally from Wayne, Pennsylvania, while still a student at Ithaca College, Burch began his empire. He founded a sweater company by hiring a factory and selling his “preppy” sweaters door-to-door with his brother. This was the seed of what eventually became a multi-million dollar operation. He sold his firm in a $60 million deal and went on to found a new fashion label with his wife.


Since selling his first company, Burch has had great success as an investor. In addition to serving as co-Chairman of his wife’s label, Tory Burch, he has made a number of real estate and equity investments, which have made him a billionaire. He was an early investor in Internet Capital Group, one of the first venture capital groups to specialize in tech start-ups in the mid-90s. He currently resides in Miami, Florida.


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