For years, headphones represented nothing more than a simple accessory. Unless you were an audiophile obsessed with high impedance, expensive headphones were a low priority. When the iPod launched in 2001, Apple chose a basic white set instead of the traditional black. A decade later, those ear-buds are as iconic as the very device.
As technology marches forward, transforming computers into recording studios and phones into personal stereo systems, headphones have similarly become both a fashion statement and a means to hear music. Companies, such as Skullcandy and Beats from Monster, and celebrities, such as Kate Upton and Dr. Dre, have since entered the mix, yielding a multimillion-dollar industry. Music-lovers no longer have to choose between high fidelity and high fashion. Today’s headphones both look good and sound good.
To shed further light on this trend, we polled some of our favorite people in and around the world of music: DJ and designer Josh Madden, producer Alan Wilkis, international DJs and reality TV stars the Stafford Brothers, DJ and Mixman software-creator Josh Gabriel, Industrial Design Director at Skullcandy Pete Kelly, and PAPER Magazine Executive Editor Alexis Swerdloff.