The Apple Collection 1986/87 – fashion and merch from the Mac maker

Like the other day in the article on the 40th birthday of the Apple Mac As shown, this iconic Apple computer was introduced in 1984. The following year, 1985, Steve Jobs was fired due to internal differences. And from then on, Apple was completely lost. Until Steve Jobs returned in 1997, there were excursions into a wide variety of product areas - and a very special one was undertaken in 1986. For Apple and Mac fans, there were many new products in the “Apple Collection” with merchandise such as fashion, office supplies, mugs, umbrellas, backpacks, coolers, beer glasses, alarm clocks and even surfboards with windsurfing sails.

The Apple Collection 1986 / 1987 – look at the cover

The cover of the Apple Collection catalog from 1986/1987 is already worth a look. Because it seems to be made of some kind of cardboard. The paper has very clear irregularities and is in a brown tone. The Apple logo and font are printed in plain black. In addition to the superscript first "O", it is also noticeable that in the word "COLLECTION" the letters E, C and O are the only ones that are not formatted in bold. In combination with the cardboard cover, this was probably intended to emphasize the eco-friendly nature of the offer. Given the many plastic and leather products as well as overseas imports, I would consider this to be misleading.

Anyone expecting eco-products will be disappointed despite the cover of The Apple Collection 1986/87. Because there is a lot of plastic, leather and overseas imports in the catalog for Macintosh fan products.
Anyone expecting eco-products will be disappointed despite the cover of The Apple Collection 1986/87. Because there is a lot of plastic, leather and overseas imports in the catalog for Macintosh fan products.

The Introduction – Last year 22.000 shirts were sold

After opening the catalog  you are greeted by the people from The Apple Collection, apparently a separate team within the Mac manufacturer's marketing department. The introduction provides (translated) the following insights into Apple's previous fan product range and the one presented below:

Last year, 22.000 people bought Apple shirts from The Apple Collection - people who like the way we make Apple computers.

At The Apple Collection we find manufacturers who make their products the way we make our computers.

We put our logo on these products because we value their quality and believe you do too. They come from such excellent companies as Tiffany, Braun, Bree, ixi:z, Lamy, Mistral, Honda and others you may not know.

They are products that we would make ourselves. Each of these products is backed by our guarantee: If you are not satisfied with an item, you can return it within 30 days and receive a full refund.

If you are one of those people who like our computers, then you will like the products in our collection.

The short introduction that is intended to invite you to get to know and order high-quality products. Apple would have produced these itself if it had not been a computer manufacturer.
The short introduction that is intended to invite you to get to know and order high-quality products. Apple would have produced these itself if it had not been a computer manufacturer.

Macintosh cases, floppy disk boxes, notebooks and mouse costumes

The first offers on the following pages are aimed directly at Macintosh users. There are different transport bags made from different materials. From $49 to $199 you could choose different models. Adjusted for inflation, today's offers would be $135 to $555. The transport bags include floppy disk boxes and bags, mouse pads, a notepad in the shape of a small Macintosh and a gray mouse cover with ears - "He's a mousepiece" is the motto of the costume for the input device. For just $399 (about $1.110 today) there was also the MacTable, a desk designed around the two most important things: “Your Macintosh and you.” A director's chair completes the whole thing.

This offer is a one-off masterpiece.
This offer is a one-off masterpiece.

Mac fashion in black, white and main colors

There is no separate section for fashion items in the catalog for The Apple Collection 1986/87. The sweaters, T-shirts, polo shirts, shirts, caps, vests for women, men and children are interspersed among key chains, watches, pocket knives, money clips, toy trucks, wine glasses and the like. What is noticeable is that mainly black, white and the main colors from the colorful striped Apple logo are used. Here and there a turquoise or a paler yellow is also used. So not just bright leisure fashion, but also more sedate tones for business. Some of the clothes can clearly be attributed to their time, others are harbingers of trends from the first half of the 90s.

In addition to a wide range of equipment for the office, home and road trip, the catalog also includes fashion. The offers for women, men and children are sometimes more casual fashion, sometimes also part of the casual business sector.
In addition to a wide range of equipment for the office, home and road trip, the catalog also includes fashion. The offers for women, men and children are sometimes more casual fashion, sometimes also part of the casual business sector.

Products from the Federal Republic of Germany: clock, alarm clock, calculator and beer glass from (West) Germany

The catalog offers everything from playfully designed canteens and cool boxes made of plastic to an elegant wine decanter made of crystal and a chain and ear stud set made of 14k gold. The various offerings come from all over the world, such as a clock, an alarm clock (which you can tell to stop the alarm) and a calculator from the manufacturer Braun. This is interesting, among other things, because the calculator app, which is still preinstalled on Macs and iPhones, is modeled on a Braun calculator. A crystal beer glass was also offered with an Apple logo on the bottom. And if it doesn’t say “Imported from Germany,” why should you buy it?

The offerings on these two sites can be summed up in three words: beach, beer, brown.
The offerings on these two sites can be summed up in three words: beach, beer, brown.

View and download The Apple Collection 1986/87 yourself

If you want to (virtually) browse through the catalog from almost 40 years ago, you can do so in the Internet Archive: Learn more. There you can also download the catalog with the wild mix of Mac merch – as PDF, EPUB and other formats. The document has a total of 40 pages, which is easy to study on a rainy afternoon. What do you think of this strange mix of products and which one would you order today? Feel free to leave your opinion on the Apple Collection back then :) 

Note: To convert prices to today's dollar value I have this page utilized.

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