The Booming Business of Selling Steve Jobs's Wardrobe

Just over a month after Steve Jobs's death, some of the companies that manufactured his iconic outfit are warming to the idea of cashing in on the affiliation. 

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Just over a month after Steve Jobs's death, some of the companies that manufactured his iconic outfit are warming to the idea of cashing in on the affiliation. While the idea of profiting off of someone's death is prickly on the surface, it's easy to understand the appeal for all parties involved. Apple fans can pay tribute to their fallen hero. The brands who fashioned Jobs's round glasses, black turtleneck, blue jeans and grey sneakers ensemble — Robert Marc, St. Croix, Levi's and New Balance, respectively — get a little boost in revenue. And in a round about way Apple itself even gets some free advertising. Some are more eager than others to jump on the Jobs tribute bandwagon, however.

The Glasses, by Robert Marc - That minimal yet exceedingly wise look provided by the frameless Ghandi-like glasses can now be yours for a cool $495 (plus the price of the lenses). Citing "overwhelming" demands, Robert Marc will now mass-produce the custom model that the Apple co-founder wore for over a decade. Jobs actually met with Marc in 1998 and decided to modify the existing "Lunor" frames to accommodate the round lenses and proceeded to collect multiple pairs made of fancy materials. The Wall Street Journal reports, "Mr. Jobs bought more pairs in antiqued silver and 18k white gold, sometimes wandering into a New York Robert Marc shop, and sometimes ordering over the phone — presumably his iPhone."

The Turtleneck, by St. Croix - The token black shirt is actually a mock turtleneck, and like Jobs's solid gold glasses, it's very fancy. "Jobs preferred $175 St. Croix cotton and microfiber mock black turtlenecks," The Washington Post recently explained. "According to Bernhard Brenner, the founder of Knitcraft, St. Croix’s parent company, Jobs bought about two dozen black turtlenecks each year. The day he died, sales of the turtlenecks doubled overnight, reports the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. Knitcraft has been donating $20 to the American Cancer Society for each turtleneck sold."

The Jeans, by Levi's - The stonewashed 501-style is undoubtedly the most mainstream part of the Steve Jobs look, so it's more difficult to measure the impact. Levi's did publish a tribute blog post to commemorate Jobs not so much as a loyal customer but as a world-changing visionary. Seemingly disgruntled by the company not mentioning Jobs's jeans in the post, a commenter suggested Levi's pay tribute with an "iPocket … an iPhone-like insignia on that little pocket." Levi's thanked the commenter in an editor's note, adding that "it didn't go unnoticed or unappreciated by us that Steve Jobs found a new use for our watch pocket" and her suggestion would be passed on "to the appropriate folks at the Levi's® brand." On Thursday, Levi's dashed her iPocket dreams. "There are not plans for any more [tributes] at this time," a Levi's spokesperson told The Atlantic Wire.

The Shoes, by New Balance - New Balance one-upped Levi's by posting an entire tribute page to Jobs in the days after his death, although it's now been removed. "It featured [a] quote from him with a pair of the NB shoes he was known to wear in a small spot at the bottom as our suggestion that he had left behind 'big' shoes to fill," a New Balance spokesperson told us. For years, Jobs himself practically served as a New Balance model by exclusively wearing his grey 991 running sneakers at Apple keynote addresses. Though the rollout was previously planned, New Balance told The Atlantic Wire that it's "planned a re-launch of the original 1981 New Balance 990 shoe that was actually a predecessor to the 991 in mid-2012." We don't expect Jobs's name to be embroidered in them or anything, but if you're really in the market for some Steve tribute garb, there's plenty of it elsewhere.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.