When it’s time to accessorize, don’t forget your gadgets! For the gadget that has everything now come pouches, bags and sleeves to clothe your iPod, XBox or laptop. At the Magic Marketplace apparel trade show in Las Vegas this week, Tandy Brands Accessories, a major accessories supplier for retailers like Target, Wal-Mart Stores, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney, launched its NextGen line.
The idea of protecting your gadgets in streamlined, modern-looking cases must make sense to some people, because Best Buy this fall will begin carrying a line of Liz Claiborne bags, cases and covers for electronics. “Every year, we’ve been hearing at holiday that electronics were the big winners. We decided we needed to accessorize those electronics,” said Dan Weaver, vice president of design for Tandy’s men’s division.
Accessories as a category are generally insulated from fluctuations in consumer spending since people may forgo a full outfit but won’t feel guilty if they buy a bag, a belt or other small item.“Times are tough but our price points in categories are still accessible,” Weaver said. “I think overall the apparel industry will feel a pinch but I think we will be ok with accessories.”
Retailers have been receptive to the line — in colors like black, red and grey — and are doing tests for this holiday season, he said. Bags are the biggest sellers since everyone has a laptop these days, while Target has been buying cellphone holders and has asked Tandy for some new categories, he added.
Electronics have already made their presence felt in apparel. A variety of clothing lines offer jackets and other garments with a sensor panel sewn in the sleeve that allows you to control your iPod. Wires are also hidden internally within the clothing.