Motorola captured the advertising and technology industries' collective attentions in early August when it decided to market Moto X, its new flagship smartphone, as more a fashion accessory than high-end smartphone. Moto X will turn heads again later this week, albeit literally this time. Moto X will be a prominent fixture at Made Fashion Week in New York this year, with some models carrying the customizable mobile device down runways.
Moto X will be sponsoring Made Fashion Week designers Hood by Air, Telfar, En Noir and Rochambeau, and at least one of those designers will be incorporating Moto Xs into the show, according to executives familiar with the Motorola's plans. All four of the Motorola-sponsored designers will be presenting their spring wares on Sunday.
This isn't the first time technology walks the runway at Fashion Week festivities. In 2008, HP teamed up with designer Vivienne Tam to unveil a "digital clutch." It's not even the first huge fashion get for Motorola owner Google, which had its Google Glass product featured prominently in the September issue of Vogue this year. (It's unclear at this time if any Fashion Week designers will be featuring Google Glass on the runway.)
Motorola declined to comment for this story.
Having Moto X featured so prominently at Fashion Week plays into Motorola's emphasis on how fashionable Moto X is relative to the otherwise dull, colorless smartphone landscape. Unlike competitors Apple, HTC and Samsung which sell white or black phones, Moto X's customizable design allows for thousands of unique color combinations, Motorola has said.
Motorola will also have Moto X kiosks installed at Fashion Week parties. Just like the device's design -- which consumers can customize at the Moto X Motomaker site -- the installations at Fashion Week change colors from person to person. Using a technology Motorola calls "Color Thief," the large displays are able to recognize what colors a person is wearing and subsequently show her a Moto X design best-suited for her outfit. These interactive ads will eventually be found at bus stops and in malls.
Brian Wallace, Motorola's VP-global brand and product marketing, has expressed a desire to get involved with Fashion Week since before Moto X was even formally launched. In an earlier interview, he envisioned customers putting as much thought into designing their Moto Xs as they do their outfits.
Moto X launched to a deluge of press coverage, both positive and negative, as consumers and reporters alike were eager to see the first Motorola phone developed under Google's ownership. While the tech press was intrigued by the phone's customizable design, Motorola was skewered for using double entendres to market the phone.
One @Motorola tweet from the Aug. 1, Moto X unveil that has since been deleted said, "Yep. We've got wood," a reference to the phone's wooden back options.
While models show off their bamboo-backed Moto Xs at Made Fashion Week, Motorola competitor Samsung will meanwhile be sponsoring Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which will be also held in New York from Sept. 5 to 12. Samsung will have a lounge promoting its Galaxy line of smartphones installed at Lincoln Center.