Minnesota company cashing in on Steve Jobs' turtlenecks?

A Minnesota company called Knitcraft, according to several reports, claims that Steve Jobs was "a fan" of its $175 turtlenecks. However, after revelations that they were made by Issey Miyake, the company backtracks.

Sometimes people do things and then change their minds. Sometimes people say things and then wish they hadn't said them.

And sometimes people know exactly what they are saying and doing and only withdraw those sayings and doings when push and shove meet in uncomfortable circumstances.

This might be the case with company called Knitcraft. The way the Smoking Gun has it, Knitcraft used to claim that Steve Jobs was a fan of its St. Croix black Style 1990 turtlenecks.

This week, though, a published excerpt from Walter Isaacson's forthcoming biography of Steve Jobs suggested that the famous black garments came from the non-Minnesota-based designer Issey Miyake. Which allegedly led to Kinitcraft altering its Web site, removing all reference to Jobs' alleged fandom.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

One might imagine that this might have been a mere slip of the Web designer's fingers or an enthusiastic executive's lips.

Sadly, though, the Smoking Gun also unearthed quotes from various publications that suggested Knitcraft senior executives had previously declared Jobs was their customer.

The Minnesota Star-Tribune seemed to find the same quotes, such as "He has been very upfront that he likes wearing our product," from Mary Bergin, Knitcraft vice president.

In all of these instances, Knitcraft reportedly told the Star-Tribune that it has been misquoted. For example, Bergin reportedly claimed that she'd said: "Several reporting agencies indicate that Steve Jobs has been upfront that he likes wearing our product."

And Knitcraft's founder, Bernhard Brenner, who had been quoted by the New York Post as saying that Jobs bought 12 black Knitcraft turtlenecks a year, explained to the Star-Tribune that he merely said he "would estimate he could have purchased a dozen a year."

The more jaded might feel a little discomfort here.

They might feel even more discomfort when they see the Knitcraft Web site. There they will find a large headline reading: "In Memory of Steve Jobs". They will find an image of Jobs wearing a black turtleneck. And though there is no longer any suggestion that the former Apple CEO was a "fan" of the Knitcraft turtlenecks, the site promises it will donate $20 of the $175 price to the fight against cancer.

Oh, and Style 1990 is "temporarily out of stock."

It might, to some, all seem a touch tasteless. One might also wonder whether a man who cared about detail and design, who drove a Mercedes SL55 AMG, and even wore brands of some significance (one way or another)--like Levi's and New Balance--would be ordering turtlenecks from a hitherto unheard of company in Minnesota.

Perhaps. Or perhaps not.

 

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