When superstar will.i.am isn’t making music he’s tirelessly pursuing investment opportunities and innovative trends. His latest endeavour is i.am+ BUTTONS, a set of killer Bluetooth earphones that are quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Created in partnership with André Leon Talley, the earphones combine performance and design to stunning effect. Indeed, i.am+ BUTTONS could very well be the bridge between gear and fashion that both industries have been looking for.
What stands out first and foremost about i.am+ BUTTONS is how it resembles high end jewelry. That striking and elegant aesthetic is purely intentional. Modelled after vinyl records and crafted from premium machined metal, the buds are small gleaming discs of breathless precision. Accordingly, the earphones work as accessories just as much as they do music delivery systems. A woven fabric cord connecting the two discs only heightens the visual allure. Such versatility allows the gear to integrate as seamlessly as a pair of fashionable earrings. On appearance alone, i.am+ BUTTONS knocks it out of the park.
On the functionality front, i.am+ BUTTONS doesn’t slouch. Not only do they deliver pristine audio and deep bass, but they’re super lightweight and hassle-free. The Bluetooth range is 10 metres and the gear comes equipped with both a built-in remote and built-in microphone for easy access, control and communication. There’s also a magnetic clasp that lands close to the neck keeping everything secure. Positioned a few inches from the heart, the clasp is meant to symbolise love and conversation. It’s not everyday that your gear comes loaded with physical metaphors.
Ultimately, it’s the prime coupling of fashion and function that allows i.am+ BUTTONS to distinguish itself. Nearly all the major brands in both the tech and fashion world have been spending copious amounts of time and money trying to bridge the gap. Until now, the results have been mixed to say the least. Whether i.am+ BUTTONS sinks or swims will remain to be seen, but there’s no mistaking the fact that the earphones effectively straddle two worlds.
Say will.i.am, “Technology doesn’t have to look like technology…It’s gotten to the point where no one has imagination. Everyone else is making what everyone else is making. We wanted to do away with all that…Now that technology is ubiquitous, shouldn’t you look fresh?”
Joining will.i.am on the campaign trail are trendsetters Naomi Campbell and Kendall Jenner. Both fashion icons are not just spokespeople for the earphones, but also investors with a legitimate stake in the outcome. And if all that star power doesn’t impress you, consider the fact that 1% of all net proceeds, 1% of staff time and 1% of global product will go to the i.am.angel Foundation, a non-profit committed to providing underprivileged youth with opportunities in education, arts and tech. Or you can just buy the gear because it looks incredible. Whatever works for you.
i.am+ BUTTONS is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android. The earphones retail for $289.95 and are available in four Apple-exclusive colourways and four other colorways. Available from JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman.