Why is Apple hiring luxury fashion execs? It wants to be a lifestyle brand

Gigaom

Apple’s hire of Angela Ahrendts, CEO of British fashion label Burberry, has both tech and fashion audiences talking. Ahrendts, who’s set to leave Burberry in mid-2014 to take over Apple’s retail and online stores, led the company’s turnaround from a staid, old-fashioned trench coat brand to a respected global luxury brand known for digital innovation.

Ahrendts is the second luxury-industry chief to join Apple (s AAPL) this year. Previously, Paul Deneve left his gig as CEO of Yves Saint Laurent to become Apple’s VP of special projects. He’s reportedly working on wearable devices like the rumored iWatch. Both of Apple’s hires represent a wake-up call to technologists who underestimate the importance of experience in fashion retail and branding to create an iconic brand (Note: Hear more about this at Gigaom’s Roadmap conference).

The high-end lifestyle market has always been a fascinating space. In fact, fashion brand marketing has…

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