By Martin Vedris

MILAN, ITALY: Samsung Electronics and Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani have announced a strategic alliance to develop a line of innovative portable and home consumer electronics products, including a credit-card-sized mobile phone.

 Armani was scheduled to reveal the mobile phone at his fashion show in Milan today. While the phones will not be available in Australia, the alliance’s portable products will be developed for both the signature Giorgio Armani and fashion-forward Emporio Armani brands, while home electronics products will be developed as part of the Armani/Casa home interiors brands.

“Mobile phones are becoming more and more a fashion accessory and Samsung is proud to work with some of the world’s best designers because Samsung products are characterised by their high quality designs,” said Jenny Goodridge, marketing manager – Samsung Mobile Australia.

“With some of Samsung’s design partnerships, the products are not always suited to the Australian market, however this is why we sponsored the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival this year with the Samsung Developing Designer Program.”

The Samsung Developing Designer Program awarded a $10,000 Samsung Business Development Grant to the winning designer and their design was to be made into a Samsung phone.

“Our partnership with L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival and our Developing Designer Program shows our commitment to furthering artistic and creative talent, while at the same time giving consumers the ability to tell us what stylish products they want,” Goodridge stated.

Samsung has also collaborated with other design houses including Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Anna Sui and Bang & Olufsen.

Meanwhile, other electronics companies are also associating their name with leading designers as they compete for differentiation in a crowded market. Dolce & Gabbana introduced a gold-colored Razr mobile phone made by Motorola, and LG Electronics enlisted Prada to design a touch screen mobile phone that is currently for sale in Australia.

“Today’s increasingly style-conscious consumers demand products that combine modern design with optimum performance and functionality,” said Samsung Electronics vice chairman Jong-Yong Yun.

“This powerful partnership will match great design with leading technology to ensure performance is as impressive as appearance. It will aim to satisfy the growing consumer demand for style and simplicity in portable and home entertainment products and will enable both partners to reach new audiences and further connect with existing ones. Giorgio Armani has become iconic for his contemporary yet sophisticated design aesthetic. He is also now recognised to be a pioneer in lifestyle design through his home interiors collection, his restaurants and cafes and his upcoming hotels and residences.”